Metal Head

In the very beginning there were steelhead. Some say they came from the ocean to steal your soul, others to steal your head. Every year, when the grey rains start, public service announcements warn us to stay away from rivers. And still, like clockwork, a few more of us become lost to the chrome.

Metal Head

Is it a fish that rests between

root ball and overhanging tree,

a fish who rises from the depths,

before disappearing back

against the smooth worn cobbles

of the river bed? To be that swift,

that streamlined, adipose every color

of sunrise. To be that coldblooded,

that simple. The difference between

remembering yesterday and forgetting:

four minutes, four years, either way,

contained mostly by water. And what

of man? Cut adrift from elements,

nothing but an endless stream

of questions. Purists, metal heads,

swingers, occupying pool after pool

like flocks of gulls hunting for worms

in wet winter fields. At one river crossing

a Doberman crashes out of the woods,

barks bloody hell at Rosie who hates

dogs. Owner pops out of the ferns,

banjo music starts. This for a smolt

and two whitefish, red graffiti

scrawled on concrete bridge: “Eat !@&$

& die.” Downstream we pass a bum

drinking 40s. What’s next?

We might actually catch a steelhead

on our next trip. That’s the thing:

trying to put a fly in front of a fish

on its way to somewhere else.


The FlyFish Journal Mailing List

We respect your time, and only send you the occasional update.