Saturday, December 5, 2015

black ghost sutra

(for my father)

aromas of Carter Hall pipe tobacco &
pine sawdust jumbled: by night you appear
aloof as though living yet: head bowed, bald pate
hemmed in by the usual crewcut, gray-faced,

        a shop light’s fluorescent
quaver, shellac’s jagged odor, fly-tying vise
gripping a number 4 hook, yellow saddle
hackle & white maribou & peacock herl
remnants of birds

       white birch outside the door gracile
spectral the yellow leaves about to drop:
in a workbench drawer the snakeskin you found in
the woodpile that summer—
        as a boy would—network of scales &

       the brook trout’s copper & gunmetal
flash where Cold River churned: above us white
birch with green moss veneer, below the riverbank
brambles: a cast into autumn waters beneath
floating golden leaves:

       black ghost streamer darts: alien in-
animate visitor in a world of motion it mimics:
feathers in that current, spasmodic, darting at
the play of your wrist:

                            as you sit hunched
immobile in these small hours, briarwood
spent, you must require tending

Jack Hayes
© 2015

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