by Hannah Highsmith Cloninger
“You do it then, if you’re so clever,” Ron snarled. —J.K. Rowling

Thigh-deep in a sluggish creek
tucked between the trout hatchery
and National Forest Road, I swish
and flick the nine-foot fly rod,
practice casting without reel or line.
No waders, silt filters through toes—
grit kissing forgotten inches of skin
—while I perfect the fish-summoning 
swish and flick that should raise 
rainbows from water. Down
this brown stretch, old codgers don 
fly dotted vests and wicker creels
over olivine rubber pants, side-eye 
the swathes of bare skin that flash 
between high water and short 
shorts. Gleeful, they croak 
Put more hip into it, sweetheart!
Grumble, groan when I don’t;
again an hour later, when four trout flop
in my cooler on the bank. 
As if only my body makes the world 
beg to heap itself on my plate.

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