Fishing Tournament 1

The Fishing Tournament is advertised year-round

on the ten foot long sign that welcomes you to Tidioute.

The river’s always a murky green, even when it’s a murky white ice.

But they don’t fish in the river, or so I’m told.

They fish in the contributing creek,

Next to the house where my grandmother grew up.

On the way to the cemetery where her mother is buried,

Gramma talks about the way it used to be,

How the parking lot where the skateboarders are loitering

used to be a park where she played.

After the flowers are planted, Gramma is quiet.

We pass run down shops and an abandoned movie theatre.

My Gramma never went to the movies.

Gramma breaks the silence, “Are you hungry?”

I nod and we pull into the diner where she had her first “date.”

The grease of the cheeseburger is neutralized by the chocolate milkshake

and our waitress, a plump woman named Thelma, brings the check.

We pass a grocery store advertising over-priced cereal and pop

and several churches advertising under-priced salvation.

We cross the blue bridge and go back to our lives that don’t revolve around fish.

*This is not a factual poem. I started with a place and a person I knew and edited them until a new story came out. My grandmother did live in a town named Tidioute but it’s too small to have a diner. But there is a fishing tournament. Also, my grandmother(s) are dead and I’ve never driven to a cemetery with them. 


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