Opposition and Sister Squares, Chris Gavalier

epiphanies on a stream

Jayne Adams

 

  
 An epiphany came that day,
 first time on a mountain stream.
 I heard a mighty whoop
 that echoed through the hills.
  
 A shout of joy, pure as air.
 My own voice had taken flight! 
 A trout, caught on a fly, gills
 pulsing, lay in my glistening hands.
  
 He stared at me one-eyed
 and quivered, iridescent in the sun,
 speckled red and brown
 across a deeper field of golds.
  
 My wet fingers shook as
 I beheld his star-studded colors,
 layered as the heavens,
 a fourth dimension opened to my eyes.
  
 God-smacked; I blinked,
 holding back unaccustomed tears,
 this marvel of creation
 in my unworthy wrinkled hands.
  
 Mist and moment hung,
 rain-swollen stream rushed ‘round.
 How easily my weary legs
 could slip on wet and mossy rocks.
  
 My lungs as useless under water
 as his gills in thin mountain air.
 Each of us so fragile,
 hung on the mercy of the moment.
  
 I drew him in and kissed him
 and stroked his glorious scales.
 His deadpan eye held mine. 
 Sides heaving, he awaited his fate.
  
 Will you take me?
 Give me back to the stream?
 I thanked my God
 for the vision, and sent him home.
  
 I yelled once more
 as he slipped beneath the foam,
 “Spec-tac-u-lar!” – and
 he was gone in a spray of rainbow.
  
 I cast my line downstream 
 again, and a second epiphany came:
 six sullen faces in unison
 turned toward me from the river below.
  
 Silent as pines,
 gritting teeth against gathering chill, 
 six joyless fishermen
 trained their cold-eyed glares my way.
  
 No cries of discovery, 
 no grateful praise for the gift of 
 fish held in hand,
 no happy witness to my moment. 
  
 Once, they too had wonder.
 But––tangled in fly, leader and line,
 technique and perfect form––
 their joy lay lifeless on the bank.
  
 I’ll not return to fish a stream
 nor reduce to habit such piercing beauty.
 Enough to have held a vision once
 and cried clamorous thanks to Heaven.
   

Raised between Cape Cod and Boston, Jayne Adams sought a familiar vibe wherever she lived. Finally, the SC lowcountry felt like home again. She began to unpack the joys of post-corporate life, which included time to write: Short Story America (Spring 2021) includes her “Token Collector”; 4 of her stories appear in an anthology being shopped, All That We See or Seem. Her non-fiction has been published in a Chicken Soup for the Soul volume (2019). Current projects include a novel-in-short-stories set in Boston, and a collection. “It’s thrilling to see my poetry in TPR!”