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Publication: The Christian Century
Author: Lea, Sydney
Date published: November 15, 2011

- Bow River, Alberta

The rowdy gulls- derisive creatures,

their yammer an instantaneous flash point of anger

for you. Escaped, your mammoth trout, for which

you'd traveled here, the fish

you'd drawn so close that each haloed spot

showed clear, though the river was murky, its surface pocked

by storm. The feral you of your youth returned,

as if he'd never been gone

which he hadn't. Incredibly, it appeared

to you, a man in his sixties, that what endured

of life would come to nothing. Your brother rocked

in the bow of the boat. He'd caught

a trophy minutes before, and released it.

He teased you and, incredibly, in that instant

he seemed an enemy. What madness was that!

Then reason came back:

you weighed such insignificant loss

against the loss of loved ones to age or disease.

You considered a fish you would have freed against

the elegant downstream bend

n the river, at which a pair of eagles

teetered on spruce limbs, tails and heads essential

illustrations of whiteness. And in that moment

you missed your wife, your grownup

children, a grandchild who shares the games

she invents for you, the smaller and younger twins

waiting their turns, you could hope, to do the same.

Ineffable changes came

along with an effortless, dawdling gesture of snow,

through which the sun now maundered down to the flow.

Your trout was already cached in memory's vaults.

The squalling gulls showed angel-pale.

You turned and smiled at your brother. He smiled.

And all was well. And all was well.

Sydney Lea

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