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                 for creatives who write

You stand on the edge of a shallow lake,
casting your line, waiting for bites—
some days, not a nibble.

At last, a hard tug.

You let the thing run till it seems to be spent,
then reel it in.

It flops in your net.

* * *

Any catch you take home must be gutted and cleaned.
For this, a keen blade is needed.

Slice open the belly.
Remove the crap.
Maybe chop off the head.
Save only the flesh that’s worthy.

* * *

When you tire of your pole,
set sail in a boat and head for the open sea.
Rig your harpoon to fire into blubber.
Fix one eye on the heavens,
the other on the water.

Learn to conspire with hidden powers.
When squalls blow in from the margins of your map,
lash yourself to the mast,
refuse to turn back.

When finally you come to the edge of what’s known,
forego your old tools of navigation—
the charts, the watch, the compass, the rules.
Abandon the tiller to natural motion.
Shoot the harpoon into the halo of the sun.
Strip down to your skin with wild laughter
and leap as you are into the bottomless drink.
Sprout gills and fins for swimming the deep.
Become the words you’ve been after.

Phyllis Cole-Dai

Phyllis Cole-Dai has authored or edited eleven books in multiple genres, including historical fiction, spiritual nonfiction and poetry. She lives in Brookings, South Dakota, USA.

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