Jorie Graham





Reading Plato

This is the story 
        of a beautiful 
lie, what slips 
        through my fingers,  
your fingers. It's winter,  
        it's far 
 
in the lifespan 
        of man. 
Bareheaded, in a soiled  
        shirt, 
speechless, my friend 
        is making 
 
lures, his hobby. Flies 
        so small 
he works with tweezers and  
        a magnifying glass. 
They must be 
        so believable 
 
they're true-feelers,  
        antennae, 
quick and frantic 
        as something 
drowning. His heart 
        beats wildly 

in his hands. It is 
        blinding 
and who will forgive him  
        in his tiny 
garden? He makes them  
        out of hair,
   
deer hair, because it's hollow  
        and floats. 
Past death, past sight, 
        this is 
his good idea, what drives 
        the silly days 
 
together. Better than memory. Better  
        than love. 
Then they are done, a hook  
        under each pair 
of wings, and it's Spring,  
        and the men 
 
wade out into the riverbed 
        at dawn. Above 
the stars still connect-up 
        their hungry animals. 
soon they'll be satisfied 
        and go. Meanwhile 
 
upriver, downriver, imagine, quick  
        in the air, 
in flesh, in a blue 
        swarm of 
flies, our knowledge of 
        the graceful 
 
deer skips easily across 
        the surface. 
Dismembered, remembered, 
        it's finally 
alive. Imagine 
        the body
 
they were all once 
        a part of, 
these men along the lush  
        green banks 
trying to slip in 
        and pass 
 
for the natural world.