On the Pere Marquette

Fishermen prefer shadow, but fish, the light.
I’ve watched sunlight clamber down the treeline
into a dark river now glittering gold.
Hours of fishermen, in their slow casting walk,
have come along and then gone. A few wave
but most don’t look away from the water,
their eyes reading the river’s surface.
I’d wanted to see a salmon caught
and watch it wrestle free,
both parties a bit victorious, both worse
for wear: fisherman proud and frustrated,
fish strengthened and scarred.
But morning holds back. Up in the cabin
I drink stove-burned coffee and wait
for something to learn. I watch a clock.
Out here I might need everyone
I came to get away from.
That’s why I come. To go back.

Photo by Matthias Oberholzer.

Jessica L. Walsh

Jessica L. Walsh is the author of two poetry collections, The List of Last Tries and How to Break My Neck, as well as two chapbooks. Her poetry has appeared in RHINO, Rogue Agent, Tinderbox, and more. She is a native of Ludington, Michigan, where she still spends as much time as possible. She is a professor at a community college outside of Chicago.

Twitter: @JessicaLWalsh1
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Website: jessicalwalsh.com