Matthew Roberts is a fine fisherman, barley pop enthusiast, and chaser of sea-run cutthroat.
As well, he recently graduated with with his MFA in Creative Writing from Eastern WA University. His work has appeared in numerous literary journals, including Prairie Poetry.Org, Windfall, Whatcom Places II anthology, The Methow Naturalist, and Tribute to Orpheus anthology, and an interview with James Bertolino in the Cortland Review. He was a recipient of the 2006 Sue C. Boynton Poetry Award, 2006 Washington Wilderness Coalition’s “Words for Wilderness” prize, and the 2007 Jeanne Lohmann Prize for Poetry. A sometimes guide on the Methow, as well as on the Olympic Penninsula and elsewhere, Matt sent us this lyrical gem on the nuances of getting your ass kicked in Spokanistan, WA. It’s called “Skunked on the Spokane.”
Skunked on the
On a December day when the river
wouldn’t surrender a single trout,
after tying on midges
the size of sugar ants,
(22s being my limit)
I watched the fish closely
through tannic windows
their head and tail rises,
as my fly glided over them
appearing so out of place against the naturals
I began to question
the trout’s intelligence:
What the hell are they sipping?
In these selective-feeding situations
the trout don’t answer.
A blankness of mind
from its sub-aquatic state
to join a pair of passing oyster catchers
banking the valley’s