Jorie Graham

1950 / New York City, New York

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
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,
quick and frantic
as something
drowning. His heart
beats wildly
in his hands. It is
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.
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