David Salner




I'm browsing a bookcase in the attic in Ohio

where, for sixty years, my uncle slept. 

Micky Spillane, year after year of Ellery Queen,

and a catalog of the outdoor life. On the cover—

a fisherman, his rod bent double,

stands thigh-deep in a mountain stream.

About half the books are personal enrichment—

Will Durant, Dewey on education, and Fromm,

The Art of Love. On the table by the bed—the photo

of a dark-eyed, angular women—my Aunt Jean.

She lived with him in this remodeled attic,

hot as blazes, then left.

They were lovers, on and off, until his death.

The painting on the wall is of a woman

in a bikini, smiling from a fishing dock.

In the background, vague shapes, possibly yachts.

Did it remind him of a scene from his vacations

to the Florida Keys? If so, he would have put on

a flowered shirt—there are several in the dresser—

and met her for drinks? 

After vacations, he returned to Aunt Jean, his books,

and this painting. I don't know if it was a fantasy,

but it was always there—a shapely woman

on a fishing dock, forever inviting

an obscure but enlightened man.

David Salner worked as an iron ore miner, steelworker, and machinist for 25 years.  His fifth collection of poetry is Working Here (Rooster Hill Press, 2010). His work appears in recent or forthcoming issues of The Iowa Review, Isotope, and Poetry Northwest.  His first published short fiction was nominated for this year's Pushcart Prize. He has been awarded grants from the Maryland State Arts Council and the Puffin Foundation and is currently working on a novel about the lives of hard-rock miners in the Old West.



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