Bud Lacy had a fly shop
in the front of his little house
just shy of where the fly water begins.
During the 50s, raising a daughter
on fish and stories,
he provided a regular stop on our way upriver.
My father and I would check out the flies
and see if any useful information drifted out.
Dawn and I were in high school
late 50s, early 60s.
Smartest kid in the school,
automatically a member
of the twelve person honor society.
I remember her discussing books
I’d never heard of with Mr. Drake.
She listened when I had something to say,
which wasn’t what I normally expected.
A full scholarship to a Portland college
and she was gone.
Later, I heard she’d gone to San Francisco
but little else.
Twenty years pass and so does Bud.
The following year I notice his house
changes from blue to pink
and there’s a sign out front,
PSYCHIC READINGS on a hand
with an eye in it.
I’m coming back from fishing
and see Dawn in the garden
beside the house picking tomatoes.
The next time I stop.
She’s reserved and I don’t stay,
but she says stop in again.
I do, and have a cup of tea.
There are herbs drying on strings
and a lot of books.
From what I gather, from her
and others, she rambled around,
was married to a history professor
and taught school herself,
that she was a person people would come to
for advice, so when her father died
she decided to come home.
I’ve heard of her splinting a broken leg
and others stopping with a problem
with a lover, or trying to figure
out what to do with a child.
I’ve seen her concentrate
by not concentrating,
staring through me
then offering tea.
One day I asked her why she came back
and she said, “You have to live somewhere,
and I like the way the light changes
in the canyon.”
Gary Lark’s recent work includes: River of Solace, Editor’s Choice Chapbook Award from Turtle Island Quarterly, Flowstone Press, 2016; In the House of Memory, BatCat Press, 2016; and Without a Map, Wellstone Press, 2013.