Celebration of Trout

shadows, light, moving...living


by Jim Yaussy Albright


The lake rises and falls in long cool breaths.

An eagle skims the last glow of sunset,

folds itself into shadowy pines.

Loons call down the darkness.

A flurry of bats flits out the last light.

Ducks rush overhead with a sound like tearing velvet.

Stars pour down, and

trout pluck them from the surface

one by one.

For the Trout

by Greg Keeler


You were here first.

I can see why in

the way the rivers don’t

rob you of what the streams gave.

     The dim rosettes on your

sides live beyond your spots

in another time

as if Lewis and Clark were

still planning to meet near

water and could never stop.

     And the thin orange slashes

on your throat will always

be proof. No matter how

the world may crowd toward

the hybrid of loss

they will be there.

     Your gill covers burn crimson

toward purple as you flaunt

the purity of the West

spilling east from the divide

and a world

lost in you.


You live hard

in the backwater and eddies

where your flesh turns

like coal into diamond

and you burn orange

up the flair of your fins

for your own reason.

     The tracks stunning your

back into dark marble

are where we would go in

sleep if dream were water.

Since it’s not, we rely on

you to show us the way east.

     When you find size

in still waters, four pounds

draped over a purist’s hand,

it leaves no choice:

Plato was wrong.

All of the West was wrong.

This living shadow burns,

has weight.


You have come a

long way — and stayed.

Still you seem willing to put

up with us.

     When we take your water away,

slow it down,

turn it warm,

your jaw gets more determined

with each fall spawning —

and you grow.

     We call you brown and your

red spots defy us, floating

on brown glowing gold

turning purple or turquoise

when you flop on the grass.

     Your teeth turn inward

sharp down your throat

so nothing you catch

can escape you.


Running against the

line you are the

promise. Where the

brown dives, you leap.

And there in the sun,

above the circle of

your entrance into

this world,

you let us know for

one instant what

you know. And there

is nothing in

the color of sun through

water that could spell

promise so clearly.

     On shore your colors

go quickest of all.

Unless we lose you now

we will lose you always.