Fishermen know that the trick is to see
what’s not there, to pay attention in full
to the still air: the absence of warblers’ singing
in branches above the riffle;
the disappearance of stoneflies
that should be hovering above the river’s ennui:
They realize the insects must have died
and sunk below the surface, where fish are feeding.
They first learned this trick two thousand years ago
When they came to a cave looking for their friend,
expecting to find the stench and buzz of death.
When they found nothing,
they didn’t see at first, didn’t understand
what they had found:
life, waiting below the brittle surface
to leap and break into new air
aflame with grace, lifting the entire world
in an arc and covenant, a promise that springs
will feed rivers long after
we have learned how to see.