Sunday, September 4, 2016

Landing A Steelhead

by Lee Seese

Thigh-deep in the Queets in wool and waders on St. Patrick's Day,
I stand below a tailout, the water dark and still as Jacob's dream.
In drizzled dawn, drawled and drawn, the ceiling low,
I am sodden, stiff, half-asleep even after coffee. And yet,
my appetite is keened for the electric instant when the trout’s life
courses through my fingertips. I watch the bobber drift the surface,
walking speed. Fifteen feet below, a roe sack bumps along the bed.

Now it strikes! The jagged current courses down the line.
I give a flick to set the hook. Long before the sixteen pounds of
fight has left the fish, before the photo shot with mossy backdrop
highlights iridescent silver shining from its flank, I feel the spooling out,
the conscience-bothered sense, that it is wrong for only one of us
to end this day at home.

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