The wind sweeps across the water, strains against the ridge as though to tip the balance
as the earth begins its tilt away from the sun. The lake on which I float shifts with the earth.
Trout stay deep in the slow slip of current.
A dark shape on the water: a cicada struggling to stay in the light.
I find its image in the fly box, cast it out among the waves. It bobs and drifts.
A riffle breaks, bends, comes together again, as a fish rises, but not to the fly.
I lift the fly, give it to the wind again. It drops, dimples the water, bobs and drifts.
The wind persists; its breath is cold. I take out a jacket. The unattended fly slowly follows
the arc of the line as I spin in the wind. With one arm in a sleeve I hear the take,
look up to see the line straightening, lift the rod,
and a trout breaks into the light.
The net gathers it in, and an ancient, timeless circle is formed, linking hunter and prey,
hope and fulfillment. The fish twists in the net, twists off the hook,
uses the fulcrum of my grip to lever itself free.
And the circle is complete.
The wind steps back, and night slowly fills its place. Darkness settles on the water,
smooths it to an ebony sheen. Fish trace circles on its surface.
I cast out a caddis, and a trout scribbles at the fly and is caught.
I draw it out and the last light runs down its sides.
I trace my own circle and then straighten for shore. Behind me the darkness presses close,
but before me the western sky still casts a glow, silvering the ripples of my passing.
Time is passing, too, with every chime of every frog,
with each tick of a bat’s teeth on my trailing line.
The day sinks out of sight.