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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 8, Number 3, September 2014


Glenn G. Coats
Prospect, Virginia, USA

Waking and Dream

I close my eyes and try falling asleep,
But my eyes keep popping back open
Like anything could happen if I close them,
Anything at all.

—From “Hula” by Lisa Shea

Streams in southern Virginia are too warm for trout. I no longer fasten my hip boots to a belt or hang a creel from my shoulder. My fly rods stand in line down in the basement; a net hunches in a corner like a cat. There are spools of line in a cupboard and clear plastic boxes filled with flies. From time to time, I will study them under a light: Quill Gordon, Royal Wulff, Henryville Special, and the Light Cahill which worked best in the twilight along the Saucon.

In the dark, I again visit the waters I knew: South Branch of the Raritan, Musconetcong, Pequest, The Bushkill, and Cook’s Creek. I retrace my steps, park the car beside River Road, and stumble down a gulley, cross the tracks and walk up to the big rock where the river narrows alongside Packer’s Island. I work my way upstream, casting Coachmen across pools and under trees, the shadows beneath overhangs. I feel the cold current through my rubber boots, my arm working flies through the air, the steady back and forth of a saw. I emerge into the open, where the river widens and the island begins. I am drawn now to rivers in the dark.

stars above—
nowhere on a map
the sunken dock

dry creek—
in the clouds
a line of bones



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