by Bill Tremblay


by Bill Tremblay


No trees grow on the bank below

Thompson’s Auto Parts. I can whip

the Royal Coachman, a small dragonfly

wrapped in orange hackle with no snag.

My telescopic rod is my wand.

Teasing the line is my one good trick.

Desperate to find something I’m good at

I hope something startling will rise

from that little lower layer.

Everybody in town knows

no edible fish live in this river.

Cut them open, the guts are textile dyes.

They are purely for practice.

Mist from the falls is good for my lungs

since I got pneumonia in the hospital.

A blunt nosed dace takes my lure,

spins like the prayer-wheel of my bicycle.

The points of its dorsal fins sweep back

like demon bats alighting on my left shoulder.

On my right an angel hovers silent

with a hook in its mouth

like a mother weeping at a wedding.

Priests know prayers in Latin but say them

like butchers honing blades.

Rivers start with trickles and gather force

as streams merge and reach their climactic falls.

I fish where the river goes calm.

It means what it says. I will say fresh prayers.

They will be miracles and feed multitudes.