Fly Fishing

Alvin Pang

A soft flick, vague as memory,
And then the straight plunge

Of weight, laying out a line from
Life to life, a morse-code of motion;

You listen for the slips, the signal,
The tentative nudge, and count

Each wink in flaked sunlight
A trout for every thought. One

Slapped the river in a frenzy of thrashing
Then flashed away, lure and not

Steel in its dark maws. But
The joy is in the tense tremble,

The reining in with the reel
Held close to your ear, watching

The vague wake burst
Into rich silvery form. Later,

Stooped to scale it and oblivious
To the wet slime slick on my skin,

I might remember leaping gurgle oracles,
Bubbles babbled like words, recalling

Men back to the bait
With caution and exuberance:

Immerse yourself and play by the rules.

Published in Testing the Silence (1997)

Postcolonial Web Singapore OV Singaporean Literature Alvin Pang