Prime Number Magazine
is a publication of 
Press 53
PO Box 30314,
Winston-Salem NC 27130
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Issue 101, Oct – Dec 2016
Prime Number Magazine is a publication of Press 53, PO Box 30314, Winston-Salem, NC 27130

Donna Baier Stein

Selected by guest poetry editor Hedy Habra

Followed by author bio and Q&A
Fishing with My Father

In Colorado, at Call of the Canyon,
we fished for rainbow trout
which my Grandma would
skin and debone, bread and fry
in a cast iron skillet.

When my father dies,
I want to take him back 
to those sweet-rushing streams,
so his ashes can mix with the
clear, pure waters pouring over
smooth rocks in the channel.

And just as a stream 
overflows its banks, 
my father, in his future form,
will leave the edges of 
his skin and swim elsewhere. 

I want to return to the log cabin,
light a kerosene lamp 
in the dark of night,
read an old Alfred Hitchock Mystery Magazine,
pray hard enough to bring him back to me,
just like he was, forever.

I want the waters to wash over me, too,
to hear their rock-written/borne music endlessly
so that the stuff we are made of tumbles
in the water’s flow, each cell a
flash of silvery blue green 
with a broad red stripe, 
slipping through the current, 
teasing the hook and line of my heart.

Donna Baier Stein is the author of The Silver Baron's Wife, Sympathetic People (Iowa Fiction Award Finalist), and Sometimes You Sense the Difference. She founded and publishes Tiferet Journal. She has received a scholarship from Bread Loaf, a fellowship from the Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminars, three Pushcart nominations, and prizes from the Allen Ginsberg Awards and elsewhere. Her writing has appeared in Ascent, Beloit Poetry Journal, Poet Lore, Prairie Schooner, Virginia Quarterly Review, Puerto del Sol, Writer’s Digest, and elsewhere. She is currently completing a new collection of stories based on Thomas Hart Benton lithographs.

I wrote this poem to a prompt offered by Laura Boss at a recent writing retreat in Mendham, NJ. At the time, my 93-year-old father was in his third stay in hospice. My father passed away a month later, on June 30, and I read the poem at his service. I am very grateful to see it published now in Prime Number Magazine. 

Questions from the editor:

What was your favorite childhood toy? 
My Tiny Tears doll.

What is the farthest you have traveled from home? 

A walk in the rain or snow?
Probably rain.