I had family in Oil City,
a fishing camp outside of Titusville.
The memories of driving from West Virginia,
later from Pittsburgh, crisscross my heart.
My uncle cracking wells,
me, as a boy, sitting in that chair spearing
the ground with pipe like I was breaking rock
with a sledgehammer and feeling
I was a man working with my body
and the tiredness
of putting in a day of work.
Then, fishing Oil Creek on Saturday
and Sunday when only chubs and suckers
were alive in that water —
but fishing anyway.
Later, hunting in the hills above the creek
where my grandparents, aunt and uncle lived.
For two weeks every summer, I was there.
It matters where you’ve been.
So does the refusal to deny where dreams begin,
not knowing where they might end,
the memories and stories lingering,