A poem a week until the entire book is blogged. See also Collected Poems

Monday, May 29, 2017

Beech Lake

Spring, and spring of her life also. She walks
to water to stand behind sedges, thinking of snakes.
And snakes come. First one, lazily, tail

sculling, head high, counterclockwise along
shore, and then another. And then -- another.
All going, she notes, the same way round. Next day,

incorrigible child, she rigs a black fly rod
with stout green line tied, butt end and tip end:
a snare. Back to the sun-long lake. The snakes

continue their rounds. She casts loop, she waits.
One comes, riding high in clear water, black eye
bright. Caught, the looping, livid thing

bends the rod double almost. On close inspection
she speaks its given name: common water snake.
Proudly she touches the twisting ribbon of flesh,

but it turns to sink four quiet rows of teeth
deep in the base of her thumb. Shamefaced, she
lets the bright creature go; it swims sedately,

maddeningly counter-clockwise: nothing
has happened to change its agenda. Rod forgotten,
she sinks to her knees among sedges to watch

fishing men quietly fishing in beech-shade,
shading her eyes with her still throbbing hand.




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