Backyard Boats

Henry Hughes

Summer 2018

On blocks and rusted trailers,
cracked hatches, moldy seats, chewed wires—
squirrels hulling acorns
under a pitted propeller shaft.

Dozens in town. Sun-cracked ski boats,
bloated cruisers, McNary’s Catalina 22—
dog sleeping on the dirty heap of sails. And our Whaler
Dad keeps saying he’s gonna take out
this year

is filling with oak leaves again, bitter
black-stained decks, cracked chrome
and tarnished cleats where we tied up
at Newport with a cooler of crabs
and two coho.

Henry Hughes is the author of four collections of poetry and the memoir Back Seat with Fish. He edited two Everyman’s Library anthologies on fishing, and his essays and reviews appear regularly in Harvard Review. He teaches at Western Oregon University.

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