Fishing as the Westerner’s Meditation

                                    by Brian Merrill

The forehead and heart foci, tribally colored in the face,
carved of intricate coordinates, unmapped by me,
woven to an imageless funnel in space, reverent to
some bow of the hat toward time or integral calculus.

photo by Janessa Goldbeck

I’m still fishing with you dad. Yellowstone
accretes you to my memory. Just as Christmas
is lodged in the Big Bear house in winter –
strung there ornamentally inside, that house

its images scatter to pictures, and when pictures are lost,
they coalesce in my mind by song or smell or better will,
light bulb substance talked on or a dancing dog taught to sit
the projectionist always chooses for the cinema.

Determined I can balance, recklessly smile through
odd potential days unknown. I’m still fishing with you dad,
where the sun makes incisions to the water, light pierced
over ethereal substance under which we held

our breath for what? Without hold, our holding into it,
there is no fear, no shade for the trees to sway for,
no wind to push the trees away from. From their natural bend,
their devout nodding, their bending over the river’s go.

A river maintains leverage on its burdens, rocks
softened to pebbles by Assisi or Ávila, by positive continuity
I’m standing there with you dad I’m reeling in a guppy, we’re
at the feet of water, spines straight, purple sky 4AM.

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