Edward Steinhardt

(August 16,1961 / Wayne, Michigan)

On the Pier at Key West


for Alexandre Zimmer


The man and woman,
Standing on the pier,
Cast their blind lines
Into the sea.

We, watching,
Hear the whip and fall
Of hook and bait-
And rise to the expectancy

Of water witches,
Who plumb these depths
With the faith of Moses,
Who smacked the rock

Three times with a stick.
The man and woman,
Standing on the pier,
Are patient in their spell.

A tug and pull
Is the answer to this trick
Of tropical fish
Dangling in the air.

'Too small, ' we think.
'Too small, ' they say.
And the fish is thrown
Back into the sea.

The patient pelican,
Standing near the pier
Does not believe
In hook and release.

He is like a magician
Who jumps and swoops
In his feathery cape
Until the fish disappears.

The man and woman
Standing on the pier,
Methodically cast
Their blind lines into the sea.

Submitted: Thursday, December 07, 2006
Edited: Saturday, December 04, 2010
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