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Monday, May 14, 2007


by Paul Nelson

Among surf rods, skewered in sand,
under monofilament shimmering, a boy,
rigid and grim, cranks his spinning reel fiercely,
the fish sawing the lagoon in shortening sweeps,

a lovely Jack, oval, silk-silver, sickle tail
a paring of one pound moon, like the one
I hooked in the same water, sixty years ago.

He hauls the papio, flopping from the surf,
drops his rod, drops upon it, eye to eye,
its weight quivering in his relentless grip and thrill,
what we expect of boys, the right of first kill.

Had he slowly pinched the hook from its jaw,
slid it quivering to water, watched it swim away,
would we send him, or let him go?

Paul Nelson is gainfully retired as Professsor of English and Director of Creative Writing for Ohio University. Five books; many magazines; AWP Award for Poetry; NEA Fellowship; now trolling off the North Shore of O'ahu.