Night Fishing

Arts & Culture

There’s a floating borderland

between light going down to darkness

and the humming rise of insects

into the drift currents of cool wind

over water,

over this lake which holds the world

mirrored perfectly:

dry hills, sage, drowned cottonwoods,

the buoyant angler

whipping the wild horses of the air

with a supple rod –

with the merest flick of the wrist

fly poised

on the surface before sinking

in a soft spiral bottomward,

where hunger follows,

where the eye

cannot.

 

The strike, when it comes, is

quick

               hard

                           down,

an elephantine pull,

an ache –

                   a sudden nothing.

 

Whatever it was

that leapt out of the dark water

wearing fish flesh and haloed in the moon,

that swallowed the mayfly’s dance

then hung

by threads of starlight weightless

in the still air,

and fell,

a streak of silver comet-sure

back into rippling heaven,

cannot be betrayed

by naming, though it named me:

Cast-Away,

Night-Fisher,

Ghost-in-the-Shallows –

I am trying to learn to walk

like water.

 

--

 

 

THE MISSOURI

AND MATISSE

Cut-out clouds

a stripe of blue

the scissors of vision

precise:

Missouri Breaks

like the pale cliffs

of Dover

in a circus of beautiful

light –

snip out a

bird

purple bird

thousand

swallows nesting

in soft

escarpments all

the curves curls

currents

arranged

off kilter

yellow rubber

(the rapids)

raft and some

fish

finny fellows in fine

quick

fettle one

here

silver there

one

arcing

an orange

Moon.

 

--

 

 

AUGUST HAIKU
 

On his way to the

river, weasel brushed against

my ankle, unaware —

then into the cold

stream, sinuous as current,

eyes like small black stones.

 Robins drunk on ripe

chokecherries — would that wine could

grant me such fine wings!
 

Lamp-caught moth — tiny

phoenix reborn in flame — plum

leaf, poppy petal ...