from “Hunting Manual” by Eleanor Wilner

from her book Shekhinah

from “Hunting Manual”

…But the hard prey is the one
that won’t come bidden.

By these signs you will know it:
when you lift your lure
out of the water, the long plastic line
will be missing its end: the lure and the hook
will be gone, and the line will swing free
in the air, so light it will be without
bait or its cunning
sharp curl of silver. Or when you pull
your net from the stream, it will be eaten
as if by acid, its fine mesh sodden shreds.
Or when you go at dawn to check your traps,
their great metal jaws will be wrenched
open, the teeth blunt with rust
as if they had lain for years in the rain.
Or when the thunderstorm suddenly breaks
in the summer, next morning
the computer’s memory will be blank.

Look then for the blank card, the sprung trap,
the net’s dissolve, the unburdened
line that swings free in the air.
There. By day, go empty-handed to the hunt
and come home the same way
in the dark.

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