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Self-Portrait as Angler’s Damselfly

ISSUE:  Winter 2005

It takes a certain type to be devoured
daily, to slide into each fish’s jaw

with no song in my throat. Please consider,
in big-river country, the allure

of the miniature, of tinsel, feather and thread,
of stiff, glittering hackles and glued wings—

and know when the mouth strikes, I’m barb and hook
and bound by filament to bony ground.

Show me a safer way to encounter desire.
Existing in repetition is not so far

from living in ritual, where consolation
outweighs consequence and all trajectories

bend toward the center. Darling, there will never
be more than the arc I describe, the flash

of a trout turning beneath me to feed, a briefest
darkness. This landscape allows no hiding—

a thundercloud is visible for miles
and no amount of silt can cloak a current’s

appetite—the trick is to prohibit
hunger, which is not far from expectation.


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