Fly Fishing

For years, what he dreamed of
was taking up fly-fishing,
just like he’d seen on television
where the river meets the mountain.

He came close, once, to winning
a trip; he’d called in when WMMS
offered an all-expense-paid
trip to Montana. The winner’d even get to

Meet Robert Redford. He knew the answer
when he called, but froze when he heard
the echo between radio and phone receiver.
Nothing sounded natural enough to be real or right.

The answer never came, so he never went.
He collected fishing magazines and
calendars, searched yard sale and fee market
for a fly rod that didn’t exist.

On a short night after a long day
He rewatches A River Runs Through It
For what must have been the hundredth time.
The Zen of it all. That’s what he loved.

He never told anyone about the radio
contest. Failure stings in a particular
way, especially the kind that’s one
step short. Especially when it’s on the air.

No one he knew ever spoke of it, either.
Who knows who might have heard? Who
knows who kept this invisible confidence,
and who knows who keeps it still?

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