by Dave Motes
The flyline slides toward me, orange on black rippled ice,
that curls and shifts to the shape
of the river’s freestone bottom. Black water
draws itself in the image of the drained winter sky
veined with vacant branches; bristling curves
of distant ridge shrug up against the
night’s cargo of chill.
The ripples of my intrusion on the surface are gone now,
so I have always been here, extended,
as the perfect drift draws down to where I pillow current.
And if a trout takes
the tiny dim drop of dun that is my fly,
I have not done the disturbing,
interrupted the sliding plane and tended curves
of line acrossing the surface of the river,
moving downward, outward, along.
This line aligns; by its odd flight
and subtle maintenance, offering and altar,
delicate alchemy of gold from black,
knowlege of subtle cycles and
infinitesimal routines of knots and fibers.
It lines and angles my mind away
from clear divisions, keys in locks,
calendars and caring.
Trout still rise, though darkness has taken the limits
of the river and left only the center.
I can no longer see my line, my fly; I reel it up
though trout still rise. I lodge my line again,
and look up along the shading browns of mountain to see
what I’ve fished for; for a moment, the dense
solid stones slide and veer and surge in place,
blurring their lines, shifting seasons,
calming the ripples of their soul.