RED AND SILVER LURE

It  looks  homemade.  Something her father fashioned after much
time  in the river.  Enough time to think the river his.  I can
imagine    him    standing    in   pale   green   waders   some
chrome-and-butter  sunset,  upstate,  late summer, casting this
lure  into  the  water.   Letting  current  take  it as current
pleased,  as  he  pleased, then slowly reeling it back.  How it
floats  in  my  hand,  buoyant  wood,  New Year's Day.  The red
enamel  flecked, the silver brushed in a child's uncertain hand
so  the  tapered  streaks  are asymmetric along its length-wise
axis, a copper fitting pinched at its fluted tip to take the so
many  pounds  per square inch of a rainbow's thrashing.  Was it
cut  to  wobble just so?  Was it left fattened in the middle to
hump  up  and  keep  hidden that second chandelier of barbs?  I
remember  watching his cold hands slitting a salmon once like a
loaf  of  bread,  opening  the book of its flesh.  Now and then
bringing  his  scale-flecked  hand  to  retrieve his cigarette.
Flicking  it, wrist-style.  We talked -- about nothing, really, in
particular -- unaccountable joy perhaps, the pressure of business,
or  that expertise of bamboo rods and pleasure men here take in
waiting-in-deep-woods  or  up-to-their-hips-in-rivers preludes.
And  then  he  lopped  the  salmon's head clean off with crude,
admirable  grace.  There was blood and the stickiness of dying.
A torn gill.  No one body owned the river.  He waded in and was
imbued with otherness -- all that cold meat hurtling toward him in
the dark.


Dennis Hinrichsen
DENNIS HINRICHSEN's most recent work is Detail from The Garden of Earthly Delights, which won the 1999 Akron Poetry Prize and was published in 2000. A new collection, Cage of Water, has just been accepted for publication by the University of Akron Press.  New work of his has appeared or is forthcoming in AGNI, Alaska Quarterly Review, Crab Orchard Review, Field and Passages North.  He currently teaches creative writing at Lansing Community College.
TAR