Casting for the Cutthroat
for Richard Hugo (1923-1982)
by Charles Entrekin

He sneaks after some woman who could not love him,
a woman from his school days, who would never love him.
He knew it, snaking like a thief after the praise
from her lips, like a fisherman casting
only for the cutthroat, living
out his years forever dumb
before this woman who could touch him,
thinking only the barrenness of Garnet,
Montana could cure him,
this madness that could not be cured,
his own special madness,
the way the green of a river bank
reminds him of her,
the way she's always young as porcelain
and he's grown old, his books
like school houses ablaze in the snow.


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