Devin Kelly earned his MFA from Sarah Lawrence College and co-hosts the Dead Rabbits Reading Series in New York City. He is the author of the collaborative chapbook with Melissa Smyth, This Cup of Absence (Anchor & Plume) and the books, Blood on Blood (Unknown Press), and In This Quiet Church of Night, I Say Amen (forthcoming 2017, CCM Press). He works as a college advisor in Queens, teaches at the City College of New York, and lives in Harlem.
FISHING AFTER DARK
Someone was fishing in pitch
black on the bridge from the Bronx.
Fog lifting in the mist of rain,
but no caught line sent singing
through the weather. I paused
to look back, wondering. Maybe
a catch I could spy in cold,
fingers blister-dry spent fisting
the rod. Nothing ever gets away.
Nothing ever leaves you. The essays
my students wrote dampened dark
with wetness, sealed themselves
to one another by drying. I carry
too many words around with me,
but nothing still compares to the flash
of scales, the line tightening to life
then letting go to slight before
the catch. I was just a little boy
with a stepdad I just met. I didn’t
know then how many things
I could later compare to love,
or that metaphors exist simply
because life as it looks makes no
sense. You’ve got to jive the knob,
grease the reel, let the slack slacken
in your mind in order to survive.
I wish I knew less. I wish I knew
more. I wish I could read minds.
I wish the man, bridged & ready
when I looked back, held up
a fish, smiling at having done
this simple violent thing, if only for
knowing then a little more about love.