William Walsh: “Fly Fishing in Times Square, 2015”


I’m told I should like everything about New York City.

Yet, somehow, I can’t pull myself out of the country

long enough to admire the street bustle

of thick car horns or sidewalk vendors

hocking roasted lamb from a trailer-deli.  On the sidewalk

people are elbowed together like a rock concert.  It’s summer,

hot and muggy.  I can’t imagine New Year’s Eve.

Still, I walk Broadway searching for the perfect sesame bagel,

bumping and jostling, and all I can think about is a trout stream

in Wyoming, lying down in the flowers, grass

as thick as a matted dog, where my Muddler Minnow drifts

to a current seam behind two rocks.

With my coffee and bagel, I sit on a bench near the Sunshine Cinema,

a row of police motorcycles, chromed and clean, sparkle

of authority glinting into my eyes.  I watch people

ignore each other, avoiding eye contact, the turn of a shoulder,

when I realize everyone is rushing, too busy

to be involved, rushing off to something.

I’m sure they’re searching for a miracle

to smooth the creases even if they don’t realize it, trying

as they can to pull something from the depths

of their anonymity, anything to change their lives, a miracle

beyond the headline news.  In Wyoming,

I hooked a Mountain Whitefish, surprised

how easily he came to shore,

speckled mystery of bone and muscle.

I released him then began

the slow patient wait of his return.

William Walsh, author of six books, most recently published his second collection of poems, Lost In the White Ruins.  His novel, The Pig Rider, was a finalist in the Pirate’s Alley William Faulkner Writing Competition.  His work has appeared in AWP Chronicle, Cimarron Review, Five Points, Flannery O’Connor Review, James Dickey Review, Georgia Review, Hunger Mountain, Kenyon Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, North American Review, Poetry Daily, Poets & Writers, Rattle, Shenandoah, and elsewhere.  He is completing his PhD at Georgia State University in Creative Writing and teaches in the MFA program at Reinhardt University.

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