Jed Myers

Country Music

I’d stand on a flat rock low to the river,
cast over the eddies, drop the lure
into fast water, reel to keep the hook
off the bottom, and feel for a strike.

Up there out of the buzz of my city
Sundays—where the Sultan runs
under twin bridges, railway and Route 2,
to join the Skykomish—I’d hear the deep

drone of the mountain runoff’s tons
gushing over the stones, that incessant
crash on the riverbed’s hidden ridges,
the high tones broadcast off the crests

fringed with foam, that churn working
oxygen down to the fish. It was often
the kids came with. One autumn the older
hauled in a Coho. I remember it

flipping itself, sides red as the vine maple
spread on the opposite shore, one eye
after the other on blank blue sky
till the boy conked it. That shudder

we’d seen before, a few seconds,
and it was no trouble to pull the hook.
With or without a catch, we would roll
back with our blood full of that country

music, that rush in our veins,
the shiver of snowmelt in our spines.
Sometimes I’d hear a dull knock
from below—the river turning a rock.

Jed Myers is author of Watching the Perseids (Sacramento Poetry Center Book Award), The Marriage of Space and Time (MoonPath Press), and four chapbooks, including Dark’s Channels (Iron Horse Literary Review Chapbook Award) and Love’s Test (winner, Grayson Books Chapbook Contest). Among recent recognitions, his poems have won The Briar Cliff Review’s Annual Poetry Contest, the Prime Number Magazine Award, The Southeast Review’s Gearhart Prize, and The Tishman Review’s Edna St. Vincent Millay Prize. Recent work appears in Rattle, Poetry Northwest, The American Journal of Poetry, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Southern Poetry Review, Ruminate, On the Seawall, and elsewhere. Myers lives in Seattle and edits poetry for Bracken.

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