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Also by Jeff Knorr:
Steelhead Fishing Under Diving Stars | Arriving at the Shore | At the Sullivan Ranch, Returning Home | In Our Surprise, We Are

Arriving at the Shore

My son has been scared this way before.
He stiffens, steps slowly as a deer,
then eyes glide. Each time, though, it's new.
He holds my hand tightly, leans into all of me
as I squat next to him like a chair.

All of the new of a new school.
Friends with different names than before,
the smells, even familiar, drift on different wind.

He finally finds himself with Zoe
in a cushioned corner looking at a book
about bear, barrel shoulders and
dinner-plate paws moving logs.
After kissing him just above his left ear,
I remind him that even bear is scared.
Sometimes. When things are new.

*               *               *

Walking home, waiting for his small,
fast hand to ride up into my palm,
it isn't there. Two doves whip the air
and whistle up into a sycamore.

I would rather be driving off to fish,
him fighting his eyelids next to me in the truck.
We might weave up the west slope
and down the east to Frog Lake,
bait hooks, catch tiny spotted frogs
in the cave of two palms together
along the pulsing shore.
We'd pull fluttering yellow rooster tails
toward a silver flash then make Maupin
for a chocolate shake along the river.

*               *               *

I've found myself at the kitchen table.
The dog watches like I'm hiding in wheat.
Across the room, she waits for me to spook.
Outside, the shift of light and leaves.
I will walk directionless a while
arrive at one place
to a small hand in mine, a drawing of a boat,
a lake, a bear, and the fear pushed back
behind the wonder of all new things.

Printed in the Spring/Summer 2002 issue of CLR

Jeff Knorr Jeff Knorr

Jeff Knorr is the author of two collections of poetry, Standing Up to the Day (Pecan Grove Press, 1999) and Western Reach (Red Hen Press, 2002). He is also the co-author of Mooring Against the Tide: Writing Poetry and Fiction (Prentice Hall) and the co-editor of A Writer's Country (Prentice Hall). He was the founding co-editor and poetry editor of the Clackamas Literary Review.

Jeff Knorr currently lives in California's central valley and teaches literature and writing at Sacramento City College.

You can find Jeff Knorr on the web at:
—  Powell's Books
—  Barnes & Noble
—  Sacramento City College

Published by Clackamas Literary Review, in print and on the web at,, and
Copyright 2001-2002, Clackamas Community College