Fisherman, by Kurt Brown

A man spends his whole life fishing in himself
for something grand. It’s like some lost lunker, big enough
to break all records. But he’s only heard rumors, myths,
vague promises of wonder. He’s only felt the shadow
of something enormous darken his life. Or has he?
Maybe it’s the shadow of other fish, greater than his,
the shadow of other men’s souls passing over him.
Each day he grabs his gear and makes his way
to the ocean. At least he’s sure of that: or is he? Is it the ocean
or the little puddle of his tears? Is this his dinghy
or the frayed boards of his ego, scoured by storm?
He shoves off, feeling the land fall away under his boots.
Soon he’s drifting under clouds, wind whispering blandishments
in his ears. It could be today: the water heaves
and settles like a chest. . . He’s not far out.
It’s all so pleasant, so comforting—the sunlight,
the waves. He’ll go back soon, thinking: “Maybe tonight.”
Night with its concealments, its shadow masking all other shadows.
Night with its privacies, its alluringly distant stars.

Séance at Tennis, by Dana Goodyear

I play with an old boyfriend, to tease you out.
In white shorts that you’ve never seen before.
You storm-wind, panic in the tree.
Rattling like the genius
like the jealous man.
Making it impossible to hit.
So nothing clears the net.
An inside joke, my comingback love:
He can’t return, but you can?

After an hour, the court is swept, and reassumes
the waiting face of the bereft. But you-
the sky turns blue with your held breath.