Christopher Crawford

My Father Taught Me To Fish | Hmmmmm
July 8, 2015 Crawford Christopher

My Father Taught Me To Fish


Why did we have to kill you.

No, that’s not it.

How come I didn’t care
 or was even excited, exhilarated

by your death.
 When we pulled you from the sea

and onto the boat, your eyes round with surprise like a man’s

when he’s falling from his chair, you must have known

you’d had it.
 Something inside

the free and wild

always knows, but who knows

how a cod’s heart works. If it works like mine

then I think I must have heard it—
or at least something wet,

I remember this,

drummed itself to death 
on the deck of our little boat.





I was to teach his whole family English.
It wasn‘t so bad
being shut up in the Finnish countryside
since he lent me
a four-wheel off-road motorcycle
for roaring down
to his private lakeside beach
to wash up
and still my heavy morning-self
in the sauna there.
I would tell him, I‘m going to the bar tonight,
the Finnish girls
are so pretty, so open for fun. Hmm,
he would say,
hmmmm, hmmmmmmmmm.
Once he told me
I just made enough money on the stock
market to buy
3 new Volvos, I wanted to say
but held myself back. The old man was rich
but his wife
owned it all—the houses, cars, the bus
company. One
afternoon his family came round
and drank up all my
whisky, they asked how I liked Finland,
I told them
the Finnish girls are great, so open, so fun.
they said, hmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
After a month
the old man said I wasn‘t needed any more,
that I could go.
I went. It’s taken me fifteen years to understand
exactly what he thought
of me. Him with his wife’s money
and his wife’s
bus company and his pocket-change for Volvos.
I guess he’s dead
by now – and the only sweet thing: I may know
what he thought
about me but he’ll never find out what I thought
about him.
But I’m pretty sure you can guess what it is,

Christopher Crawford’s poems, essays and translations have appeared in magazines like The Rumpus, Puerto del Sol, Clinic, Rattle, The Collagist, The Cortland Review, Agenda and elsewhere. He lives in Prague where he edits the literary journal, B O D Y (