Rainbow Trout, Paul Nelson

Noble Hill Anagama



Beauty: “being of one’s hour” – for Barry Goldensohn


sleek, speckled, poised muscle, holding in shallows, sees through
water and air, calculates the bending of light precisely, sees me,
huge in my waders, picking from my fly-box a nymph, midge, larval
emerger, mayfly …trying to decide, maybe a puffy bee or chicken
feather grasshopper, choosing by weather, hunch, the two of us
studying each other with luckless acuity, from different mediums,
mutually alien, meaning something to each other that includes death.

It fins just above the gravel, flawless, having once, eonic, been a regal
salmon that got trapped, adapted, a new beauty in freshening water,
the fjord nipped shut by tectonic shrug. I am in its light; it slides sideways
back, away, and holds again in shadow of a troll haired boulder
shaped by glacier, holds just like a human being, apt to eat, radiant
voyeur among the feeding, breeding nations,

well before the aimless arrival of a local boy who has not yet fished,
who was me, who looked into the water, always thereafter
hatching plans, trickster, speculative, challenged by a fish.

Paul Nelson

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