time lapse photo of river

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

and soreness 

and satisfaction 

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, 

still alive.