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Surgeon's Knot
by Andrew Higgins

You've been wading hours
upstream, tossing nymphs,
and your mind has lost focus.
You're casting sloppy,
moving loudly
when the hatch appears.
Pale evening duns
on the surface,
gliding wraiths
and rises all around
and you stumble to switch
from a hare's ear
to a parachute sulfur
and in haste
clip the wrong line,
snipping off
the newly tied fly.
Now the tippet's too short.
This is the time
to move slow,
breathe deep.
Forget the fish
and the water surging
the mayflies popping
to the surface.
The only thing now
is the parallel lines
of leader and tippet
winding together
as you pinch and weave
them through
once, twice
and pull them tight,
moistened by
your patient tongue.


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