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Jeff Newberry


Listen to Jeff Newberry read "My Father, Fishing:"

My Father, Fishing

Dawn knives through cypress & pine,
casts slatted shadows over Depot Creek.

He tightlines. 
                     I eye a cork.

He draws the line, sways it,
lets hook & worm fall back
in the dark water. My cork lies

& drifts, no twitch. 
                              We don’t talk. 

His grunt-glower silences me:

I’ll scare the fish. My voice might
Scatter channel cat or bream. 
But nothing pulls our lines. 

He lights another cigarette & I
picture the bit-shot lead, the thrice-tied

sickle-curve of a barbed hook, 
dead cricket plumbing the creek
bottom’s mud. 

                        Twelve years old,
I know my father only in shadows
before work—the sulfur stench
of a lit match. Cigarette fumes.
Ashes flecking the Formica kitchen table.

These quiet trips to the water’s edge.

He fishes in silence & I mimic

him in the morning light, my line
dropped into the darkness.



Jeff Newberry is the author of A Visible Sign (Finishing Line, 2008), a nominee for the Conference on Christianity and Literature's Book of the Year. The recipient of a Tennessee Williams Scholarship from the Sewanee Writes' Conference, he teaches writing and literature courses at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton, Georgia, where he and his students edit Pegasus. Recent writing has appeared in Anti-, The Florida Review, and Hobble Creek Review.
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