A Pelican plunged from the sky today

into the ocean’s open mouth, narrowly missing a kayak. Why it dropped, wingless, having shed them, must remain a mystery in search of a detective. It might have been feeding and miscalculated the angle of its descent, except that it came straight down, piercing an innocent cloud in its zen arrowness, clearly intent on obtaining terminal velocity and neck-breaking entry. Odd it was, and odder still that I alone was lone witness, fishing and mindful that the tip of my rod had not moved in two days, 6 hours and 19 minutes. I don’t count the seconds. That way leads to boredom. But drop it did just past the second sand bar where the best fish school about, flipping their tails at me, beyond my cast, should I wade out waist deep, or even chest deep should it be high tide. It is unsettling to hear them laugh, knowing as I do they are baiting me, and I am theirs. Circle hooked, braided lined, and toxic lead-sinkered. Good sports fisherman that I am, though unlicensed, I am content to be the one that got away.

Post-Covid, Richard Weaver has returned as the writer-in-residence at the James Joyce Pub. Among his other pubs: conjunctions, Louisville Review, Southern Quarterly, Free State Review, Hollins Critic. He’s the author of The Stars Undone (Duende Press, 1992), and wrote the libretto for a symphony, Of Sea and Stars (2005). He was a finalist in the 2019 Dogwood Literary Prize in Poetry.

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