Sam Barbee, Catch of the Day

Sam Barbee

Benched on a cedar stump
a rumpled angler listens
to the secluded brook coax:
hours of spinning whisper
from huckleberries and banks
of white flowers
warming the path back.
Wisteria gnarls curl
behind bunched lavender.
lures and crank bait glisten
on his khaki vest. Fatigue and fly pole
clutter the Sportsman’s shadow
where his enthusiasm
From wicker creel,
he removes a single trout.
It refuses to wrangle across his knee:
less than trophy-size, gill-dry,
fixed onyx eyes. The captor’s
fingers weave it on his thigh.
He senses the vigor-less fish petrify,
and tosses it into the garden’s thatch.
Each pastel scale fades
in shards of afternoon.
Dusk breezes evade him,
submerged in the arbor shade.

Author’s Comment: This poem depicts demise as one ages, and the attempt to replace one passion with another, sometimes by necessity, sometimes ineffectively. The trappings of any pursuit may still seem shiny and bright, even the yields of that enthusiasm or commitment, but time has a way to dull so many things.

Bio: Sam Barbee’s second collection, That Rain We Needed (Press 53), was published in April of 2016. He was awarded an “Emerging Artist’s Grant” from the Winston-Salem Arts Council to publish his first collection Changes of Venue (Mount Olive Press); has been a featured poet on the North Carolina Public Radio Station WFDD; received the 59th Poet Laureate Award from the North Carolina Poetry Society for his poem “The Blood Watch.”

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