f i s h s t o r y
R O B E R T K E N D A L L
Is it the charged geometry of buildings against sky?
The urging rumble of traffic poured into walled air?
What is it that hangs in the back of his mind
like a cardboard sign proclaiming
There's a Winner Every Time?
What makes him cast himself each morning
into the cluttered basin made of city,
turns him into a toy fishhook
attached to the downtown train line.
Each afternoon he hauls himself back
with a trinket in tow:
another day like the others
in its stapled plastic bag,
another look at the world with eyes
that weren't what he'd been hoping for.
He's after the Big One.
He's sure that each try
is another number wedged under
the fingernails of the equation.
Eventually it will have to give.
Every fisherman believes he can learn
to read the water's surface.
Nothing but verbs strewn like tea leaves--
the swirl, advance, recede, cleanse, dissolve, yield of
the liquid corridors and cubicles
and the desk where he feeds the acquisitions projections
into his spreadsheet, trying to close the holes
so nothing can slip through.
The Big One.
As each day draws to a close
it's there like a sinking sun,
unnoticed but coloring the entire landscape,
perfectly lighting the clean, convincing lines of
the handsome story walls
built from its always getting away.
© crossconnect 1995-2000
published in association with the
university of pennsylvania's
kelly writers house