by Jehanne Dubrow
From the weight of it,
the way its contents clicked and rubbed
with a sound like artificial wings,
you would have thought my husband
was a collector of silken miniatures,
hand-tied flies for catching fish.
But inside were the insignias of his work—
pins in the shape of oak leaves,
shoulder boards, ribbons,
oceans of obedience
in those shipshape compartments.
And, watching him search
for a ceremonial medal,
it was easy to imagine he was looking
for a nymph or minnow, blue
damsel or yellow sally,
as if gone to war
were the same as Gone Fishing.
And when he found the gold length
of braid or the sleeve device
and lifted it from the box,
he was like a man who loves
those still Sundays on the water
and could already picture his line
far over the edge, cast out,
a green deceiver knotted at the end,
waiting for something to happen.