Trolling at 6 a.m.
along a tide rip
with diving gulls
and silver herring flashes
there is a moment
as the first line is dropped
when the dream of salmon
the night before
and muscle of salmon
in aqua light
(previously published in Bathyspheric Review)
I expected heaven was lavender and glaciers.
Instead, I saw cigarette orbs
burned in a kid’s arm that healed.
Prostitute turned social worker.
Banker turned farmer.
Here, in the high country,
dogma is more distant than Nepal.
And, for once, in my rusty shed body,
after long burning of conscience
listening to the others,
there is a temple of silence
like when I was 19 and my glasses fell
in a secret river.
I put them back on and saw that river
was forever on my mind.
(previously published in Scythe and in the anthology In This Place)
A 2013 Artsmith Fellow on Orcas Island, Scott T. Starbuck works as a creative writing coordinator at San Diego Mesa College, and blogs about environmental issues, fishing, and poetry in the Pacific Northwest at riverseek.blogspot.com.