Author Joseph Heywood
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Taking the Bait

She studies my steelhead box
With deigned indifference,
Proclaims it looks like flapper jewelry,
Or a broadway makeup box.
Fish really fall for these? she asks
Dragging her fingertips
Lightly over the feathers.

I carefully pluck a pair
Of purple thunders,
Flatten the barbs with pliers,
Ask her to turn her head,
as I hook them in her ears
And watch before the mirror
Swiveling her head
This way and that
To catch the light,
Manufacturing motion
The way water animates.
Fish really fall for these? She repeats.

Same as you, I think,
Touching the flies
Imagining a five-foot-long,
Hundred-pounder
Yanking frantically on my line.
She twists her head,
Tells me “Don’t tug please, I’m not one
Of your trout.

Pity, I think,
Make a gift to her
She first refuses
Then nonchalantly tosses
Into the cavern of her purse.

Outside the house she stops near the yard light
 Digs in her bag,
Hurriedly re-hangs the purple feathers,
Jiggles her head and smiles
As she scoots out to her truck,
Taking the bait as surely as a steelhead,
Sharing the same weakness
For glitz.


 
 
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