Categories
Memoir Nonfiction

Fish Swim Forth and Stay

When we were little kids, I used to follow behind Robbie and Jeremiah—unbeknownst to them—as they made their way on foot to the pond in the woods off 727 in Phenix toward Red House way. They’d walk side-by-side with fishing reels in hand. I’d follow in the distance on my bike. As they set up to fish on the bank, pulling the black dirt covered worms from the styrofoam container and hooking them, I would watch from a distance at the tree line.

O gentle creature, friend of mine—come hear the words I say:
Cast a rod into the pond; fish swim forth and stay
Reflections pass and tear descend, rippling away
Thirty seven years young you’d be on this beloved day.

Background

It’s been nine years since I wrote this poem on what would have been Jeremiah’s 28th birthday. I wrote it the year he passed.

When we were little kids, I used to follow behind Robbie and Jeremiah—unbeknownst to them—as they made their way on foot to the pond in the woods off 727 in Phenix toward Red House way. They’d walk side-by-side with fishing reels in hand. I’d follow in the distance on my bike. As they set up to fish on the bank, pulling the black dirt covered worms from the styrofoam container and hooking them, I would watch from a distance at the tree line.

I always wanted them to ask if I’d join them, but they never did. I didn’t fully understand why when I was that young, but as I grew older I came to realize why.

We were all friends, but Jeremiah and Robbie had a special bond. It’s one that is exceptionally rare. To this day, of all the friendships I have had, I have never attained a friendship with anyone on the level of Jeremiah and Robbie.

When you thought of one, you thought of the other. They were the peanut butter and jelly of friendship. Montana to Rice. Stockton to Malone.

All these years later, I can still see the two of them sitting on the bank of the pond as the cattails sway back and forth as a ripple forms in the pond as a fish begins to nibble, then a gulp of water.

And then Jeremiah jerks back his reel…

Happy birthday Jeremiah.

If you enjoyed this post, I invite you to subscribe to receive notifications of new posts by email. No spam, ever.

By Jeffrey Pillow

Jeffrey Pillow is an American short story writer, memoirist, and poet. He is the author of The Lady Next Door. His writing has been published in Urge Magazine, The Nervous Breakdown, 16 Blocks, USA Today, Sports Illustrated, TheBody.com, New York Times, Washington Post, and Richmond Times-Dispatch.

He grew up in the small town of Phenix, Virginia, population: 200, and now lives in Charlottesville with his wife, two kids, and a dog named Mozzarella Cheese. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia where he was a Rainey Scholar. This is his blog.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.