Pechez La Femme

Now this time, dear old Angler, I have swallowed your hook.
Often enough before you have lured me forward
Under the rocks of sleep and I have been hooked
Lightly in the mouth and bled no more than from a good kiss
By tearing away.

This time your catch is certain. The struggle is all play
And no suspense. You will surface me through
Dark and glimmering heights of pressure and pain from where
I guarantee — and I can remember — I was once oddly alive.

Reeling one in, to you, is almost just mechanical — the turn of a screw.
To me something happens bodily resembling an embrace.
I am pulled wholly upward; I leap into it
If only to avoid being turned inside out.
And yet my eagerness is as sincere
As though your face, seen through a disturbance of water,
As though your face were very dear –
You, who fish up the wily landlocked truth of me,
Becoming to me all your lovely lures:
The Supervisor or the Warden’s Worry,
The Green Ghost, the Gray Ghost, even the Silver Doctor.

© Jean Pedrick

Listen to an mp3 file of Jean Pedrick reading this poem.