Setting Out, Paula Kaufman

Marilyn Higginson, Minus Tide, Oil on Wrapped Canvas

Setting Out


I weave, toss—toss, weave. Cast. Eyes hunting silver.
The ancients caught fish with reeds and date palm.
Sometimes I am banyan. Other times? Unclipped,
drift-netting through space, ever-wandering ghost net,
shadow of the milky way’s stubbed toe, but…casting.

Splash, pull, silence, wait.

Kumaishi, early morning, she stepped inside the sea to throw.
Hakodate, dusk, under the mountain’s sand, he flicked a line to sepia fog,
pants ballooning free.

Nanaecho in winter, families crouched over lake ice holes,
pink-numbed fingers freeze-reeling finger-sized yakasugi
that shrink in pan, expand in stomach.
One here, two there. Some days, no bite, but:
cast, pack, wait. Solitude, fog, ice, light.
Cold, mist, moon, silver. Focus on horizon.

Paula Kaufman

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