Fishing off the Bridge
by Russell Rowland

The channel arch flashes its red and green
at night, a warning that hope does occasionally
disappoint. All day railings are lined, both sides,
by those drawn to dark waters of opportunity.

An hour is a life to impatient gamblers above,
and to their finned prizes of great price below—
if there are any at this time and tide, if there is
any God in heaven, if there is any heaven.

Twelve dropped lines are their proffered prayers
to a desired good—or are they baiting God,
bribing blessing with worship? Anglers do not
speak of this to each other, not being Anglicans.

Not visionaries either, these dozen never dream
that deep among waving weeds, filleted fingers
might be following thin filament toward the lure:
farers drowned in the tempestuous Beatitudes.

One fisher finds favor, whose sacrificial worm
is taken, with an ecstasy of tugs. So chosen, he
reels away at his prayer wheel: careful! blessings,
as Pastor says, have slipped off hooks before.

Thrashing glints from its flatness, up it comes:
the glassy, lidless Ojo de Dios, only seen by him
who must pay for having looked. Will he share
his catch? Broken, it could feed five thousand.

Illya's Honey Literary Journal

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