The Ease of Trout

by Jeffrey Skemp


where the road descends
steeply as it twists
like gorgeous wreckage

and there is always brightness
like water
like gravel
like the clicking of ants
full of rain and covered in dust

like a child
have you ever dreamed you drowned
in the shallow creek at night?

its cold insistent ripples fill you
and there you witness
the ease and indi fference of trout

their shiny black eyes
the quiet glass buttons you dug up
in the middle of the woods

sometimes midday in your backyard
the dying maple tree
vibrates full of sleeping cats

sometimes seconds before a storm
silence has an echo

and there is always brightness
like fire
like leaves

like the creaky old barn
at night
becomes the perfect cave

under a sky of infinite tin
its midnight insides
are the size of the world

and you are the only one
who can see in the dark

This poem was originally published in Poetry to the People, an anthology of work by poets in Middle America. Buy your copy at, and visit to hear the audio versions of the poems.