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30 slowly left and right, and then she was gone “like silt,” he thought, recalling Richard Hugo’s poem, “Trout,” which begins, “Quick and yet he moves like silt.” Hugo’s trout is male and at the end he glides into “oblivions of cress.” Professor Wibbles’ fish was headed more prosaically into the depths of the pool, perhaps having learned (if fish may be said to “learn”) something about a red-orange imitation insect. The professor returned to his car, opened a bottle of beer, and tore into his sandwich. He should have felt exhilarated, he guessed, proud of himself for having done the sporting thing, but he did not. What would Norman have done? What would Papa have done? He had done what Elizabeth had done. He could not help wishing he’d kept “the damned thing.” That was the phrasing that came to mind. Even though he and Florence did not especially like to eat trout—that was not the point, not the point at all. He would resume fishing after drinking his beer, he would hop into the car and drive downstream a ways to another spot he liked where the water ran much faster and the rocks were treacherously slippery, and he would most likely catch another good cutthroat, maybe another big one, but it would not be as big as this one, surely. Hell, he might not catch another fish the whole afternoon. He might go home empty-handed. Emasculated. He thought of Hemingway’s “Out of Season” and of Raymond Carver’s stories where the fishing turns sour. He smiled to think what Walter Schiffmann might have to say about this line of thinking, the way his mind had been operating all day, in this sustained flurry of intertextualities. “And chust how many of dose lit-e-ra-ry selfs,” Walter might ask, hyper-enunciating the polysyllables for effect, “haf you compoundet into dis self-suff-i-cient, in-de-pen-dent, au-ton-omous self you are so fery prout of?” He smiled thinking of Pauline Jackson’s green eyes. Florence would be deadheading the geraniums about now. He sighed, finished his beer. The Logjam was a sweet stream and he knew it well and loved it, and he was confident he could land another nice cutthroat to take home. He could use that spinner if need be. He would try the Stimulator again, then maybe go with his wet-fly line using the Wooly Booger, and then if that didn’t do, he’d go to the spinning rod and the Panther Martin, and that would not fail him. After all, that milkmaid or that undine still awaited him on down the river where the water ran hard, clad in her shimmering blue swimsuit, or perhaps wearing nothing but her sleek autonomous self.


Adrienne Ross Scanlan

The Waltz At the Vashon Island ferry dock, three parents talk under the fading glory of an August sun. Seth Pomeroy ignores the looks he and Angi Jones are attracting. He smiles and watches Angi’s breasts sway under her Mayan print t-shirt as she looks for her son. She turns toward Seth, and he glances down at her legs emerging from a black mini-skirt, but wherever he looks, Angi’s body is voluptuous, her laugh warm, and she is without a man. Seth strokes his beard and realizes he’ll have to cut it for tomorrow’s return to the office. He doesn’t want to think about that. He thinks about walking hand in hand with Angi along a Thai beach, telling her of his travels, his life, making love atop white sand. Martha Pomeroy smiles and points to the butterfly earrings dangling amid Angi’s ebony curls, saying, “They’re perfect for her, don’t you think, Seth?” Seth frowns. His wife wears coral lipstick, a tan V-neck shirt, and white linen shorts unstained and unwrinkled after three days of fusty cabins, communal meals, and contra, Cajun, zydeco, and waltz dances. A breeze blows wisps of Martha’s brown hair to tangle in hoop earrings of gold twisted into a shining rope. Seeing her plump fingers point at Angi’s earrings, Seth is angry. It’s so easy for Martha. Even with unsuitable hands she’s nonetheless a musician, and now she wants a year off to play violin, leaving Seth to work long hours, day after day. “It was delightful, all our waltzes,” Seth smiles at Angi and hands Martha his iced latte. He crosses his arms over a brown t-shirt that reads DADS DO IT @ FAMILY DANCE CAMP, proud of his middle-aged, hard-won muscles, ignoring his belly paunch that more than one woman said made him look like a teddy bear. “You must come to the Lake City waltzes. We could dance the night away.” “Seth said you had a gift for the waltz,” says Martha, taking a sip of Seth’s latte. “I kicked him so hard I nearly broke an ankle,” says Angi, her face tilting away as she watches her son Bradley from afar. “Nonsense. You just need practice,” Seth waves his left hand, which lacks a wedding ring, and smiles, for what’s a kick from a lovely woman? Seth knows no one is hurt in these things; it’s just part of being a good father in

Cirque, Vol. 7 No. 1  

A Literary Journal for the North Pacific Rim

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