the fisherman

The man stands in the empty lot,
practicing his casting.
He looks like the dictionary
definition of fisherman—
old trucker’s cap, heavy
flannel shirt, muddy jeans
work boots, though, not waders,
planted on the earth.

His fly fishing pole gleams,
it’s the shiniest thing about him.
His arm draws back, his wrist snaps
forward, his shoulders roll and his torso
twists fluid and smooth, over and over,
like dancing with your feet braced.

The line arches out, floats over the dirt
comes gently down and pulls
back a breadth before it can land;
the pole bends, whips, draws infinity
symbols in the air above his head.

Behind his back, traffic mutters
ignored and ignoring.

In front of his feet, the dead
winter grass doesn’t stir.

Before his eyes, river water
rushes, sun bright on its racing,
tumbling surface and fish hide
unseen in the calmer eddies
behind the rocks.


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