Gary C. Busha

3123 S. Kennedy Dr., Sturtevant, WI 53177

Published in hundreds of poetry publications, including Poetry Now, Abraxas, and Wisconsin Academy Review. Co-editor of the 2005 Wisconsin Poets' Calendar. 

Lines on Lake Winnebago (Marsh River Editions, 2002). Selections below.


The Ol' Man's Tacklebox

My ol' man's tacklebox was green and battered,
dented, rusted, and scratched.
My ol' man's tacklebox went into the boat, under his seat,
while I undid the lines and sat on the lifesaver cushion.

Out on the reef,
after I lowered the anchor carefully so as not to scare fish,
my ol' man opened the tacklebox
and he picked out his favorite red and white daredevil.

The tacklebox had three trays that came out in layers
and in each tray were many compartments filled with spoons,
rubber worms, flies, spinners, corks, leaders, sinkers,
and the most holy red and white daredevils.

Sometimes the red and white came through right away, but if not,
out came the gold or silver ones, and, like him, I tried them all.

Back at the dock my job was to carry the tacklebox
to its safe place on the garage shelf.
Now my ol's man's tacklebox, the shelf, the garage, the dock,
the house, the boat, and my ol' man are all gone.

From Page 5, #13, Sept. 2009, Appleton, WI, R. Chris Halla, E & P

Ham and Cheese on Rye

I am an old man sitting on a sagging dock,
fishing in the rain, with not a fish in miles:
it is a perfect night for fishing.

Droplets run down my glasses, blurring my vision,
but there's nothing to see beyond the circle of light
from the dock, anyway.

I know they're out there, lurking in the weeds,
hiding in shadows, waiting until hunger brings them out,
forcing them to react without thinking, making them
bite against their will.

Like them I feel the gnaw of hunger working. Like them
I try to hold off, stay put, keep from being like all the rest.
But time wins out, wears down the will,
and I reach inside my coat for a ham and cheese on rye.

"Ham and Cheese on Rye" was read by Garrison Keillor
twice on The Writer's Almanac, NPR