Fall 1984 • Vol. VI No. 4 Six Poems, Three PoetsOctober 1, 1984 |

Running the River Lines

               for Tim Gaines   Tonight, on a bank line strungfor catfish, a crawdad hooked through the tailand dangled scarcely an inchin the murky water, we catch a loon. It must have seen our bait, scoutingoverhead for something to eat, a school of minnowsor a washed-up mussel to pick apart,and somehow snagged itself. No wonder we haven't caught any fish,the way it flaps there splashing and cryingits hideous cry, hurtby the small hook at the corner of its beak but more utterly amazedthat its wings will not bear it away from the bank.It shrieks and splashes as we draw close,straining against the willow pole until it finally rips itself loose, beats its waylow over the water,lifting at last, disappearinginto the depth of the river evening, its cry still strung between us like a fine line.

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David Baker is the author or editor of many books of poetry and criticism. His latest collection of poems, Whale Fall, was published by W. W. Norton in July 2022. Baker taught at Kenyon 1983–84 and began a long association with The Kenyon Review then, including service for more than twenty-five years as poetry editor. He continues to curate the magazine’s annual environmental feature, “Nature’s Nature.” Baker is emeritus professor of English at Denison University, in Granville, Ohio, where he offers two classes each spring semester.

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