20 April, 2021: Hot Waters 1970
Read a Poem
Hot Waters 1970
By Kevin Hoskinson
As a 12-year-old I could sense the lake
black in the dark
before dawn one summer morning
on Liberty Avenue in Vermilion
when my dad drove us into Lorain
to buy fishing worms in a cardboard
box from a little bait shop
at Hot Waters Marina.
Our once-a-year father & son fishing ritual.
My father worked that day on the pier
to make me a fisherman:
set up folding chairs in our favorite spot,
a cooler of sandwiches & 7UP,
the blue metal tackle box
with fold-out levels
of lures, hooks, sinkers in tiny drawers.
But what I remember
is not baiting the hook,
not waiting till a single line tug
swelled to an epic, bent-rod struggle
. . . no child Ahab.
Just the spoiled beauty of the undulations
on that water there before me,
the outer skin of Erie now translucent, oily,
but soft in that moment,
welcoming, glintering late moonlight
a hopeful greeting from a once-thriving pond
begging us to help it back,
suck out the decades of poisons
we had dumped there--waiting patiently,
the lake I had always taken for granted,
the lake that was always there to sustain us
and, perhaps, one day might still.
“Hot Waters 1970” by Kevin Hoskinson. Copyright Kevin Hoskinson 2020. Used by permission of the author.
Kevin Hoskinson teaches English composition at Lorain County Community College and tries to grab an occasional poem from the sky when he’s not teaching. He lives in Berea, Ohio, with his wife Alicia and his dog Mia.
Write a Poem
Write a poem that captures a rainfall you were once out in, both the outer sensations and what you were feeling and thinking.