Self-Portrait as Fly Fisherman

Self-Portrait as Fly Fisherman

He stands still and the creek does not—
a waist-deep shortcut

to nowhere. An arm, bare
to the elbow, nudges the morning

fog. A thread of water-
shine tongues the air. The impossible

reach, his expectant watch.
O to hold in your careful grip

this perilous truth and finesse
its length into a grace: longing

is a long line stretched
and taut in the current—hidden,

wet and waiting. The tug
of a phantom bite. Longing

is the second cast. And the next.
And the next. An arm reaching

beyond reach as long as day-
light allows—

Benjamin Cutler was raised on a riverbank. His poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, and has appeared in Cold Mountain Review, Pembroke Magazine, The Shore, The Carolina Quarterly, and The Lascaux Review, among many other publications. Cutler is also a father of four and a high school English and creative writing teacher in the mountains of western North Carolina. His debut book of poetry, The Geese Who Might be Gods, is available now.

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