Fishers of Fish

Today, along river road
there were cars and fishermen everywhere
making places for themselves in the wastelands
between highway and riverbed
parking every which way
trying to get to each pool,
each bend in the stream,
each sibilant rapids.
The lines and tackle boxes,
bait buckets and waders
fascinated little Clio,
who lost none of her energy
in the half-mile walk downhill,
downstream.
She yanked and jerked her lead,
straining to go down the bank
to the bend where more fishermen
tossed lines
than all the Apostles in the Bible.
Fishers of men?
their stance seemed to say;
We’d rather just fish
And half a dozen half-witty remarks
came into my brain,
each more koan-like than the last,
each one both profound and
profoundly stupid,
and as it turned out I said nothing
to the wading anglers.
The dog found a dead squirrel,
and I had to distract her
with a biscuit and a hard trot
back up the hill —
content to be once again
a failed messiah or prophet, who forgot
to open his mouth.

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