Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, SHADOW-CASTING, by JAMES GALVIN

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

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SHADOW-CASTING, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: This boy's father dies. / fine. / it always happens. / the boy knows
Last Line: This boy, it always happens, doesn’t know what to do anymore
Subject(s): Death; Fathers & Sons; Fish & Fishing; Life; Sports; Dead, The; Anglers

This boy's father dies.
It always happens.
The boy knows
what to do.
He goes fishing the same stretch of water he angled
with his father all his life till now.
The beaver ponds shine
like a string of pearls.
It isn't easy to fly-cast a mirror-
The ponds are silting in.
It always happens.
They turn
into meadows.
The stream is choked with sweet-smelling grasses,
cottonwoods, and willows.
He knows what to do with fifty feet
of line out, shadow-casting.
The loops flash over his head, electric
in the sunlight, as if to illustrate grief, or the hem of a luminous dress in
Then the tapered line rifles out, and the lead-wing touches water
with no more force than its own tiny weight.

The surface breaks.
They call them rainbows for a reason.
The boy
opens his father's clasp-knife to open the fish.
As he does this
some lint trapped under the blade, like a cottonwood seed from his father's
pocket, falls out and parachutes down to the grass, and suddenly this boy, it
always happens, doesn't know what to do anymore.

Used with the permission of Copper Canyon Press, P.O. Box 271, Port Townsend, WA
98368-0271, www.cc.press.org

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