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Shiny Lures

She lifts two buckets from his truck
before he can tell her what to do.
The clank and weight of skimmers, rods
and spinning reels, plastic tackle boxes
full of lures that once fascinated, now
weigh her down, pull her shoulders
toward the ground. He grabs the auger,
heads onto the ice. She looks to the barren,
alpine landscape, the horizonless sky, drowning
in gunmetal gray. He beckons from a distance,
leads the way, and she follows, her numb feet
seeking traction on patches of snow that shift
to the call of the fickle wind. Far from shore,
he rigs a rod with translucent line, his favorite
chartreuse, soft-bodied jig that hides the hook,
the lead sinker, while she lies flat on her belly,
peers into the hole she drilled, scooping slush
with bare, blue fingers. He yells something,
but his words are ferried away by another gust
and when she looks up, she can no longer
see him through swirls of dust, the biting air.
She raises her hood over her ears, suspends
her face over the window to the world below
lit in diffuse sunglow, where Kokanee salmon
dance among the weeds and leopard frogs slumber
safe in the deep. She imagines herself as an eel,
slick with no feet or hands, slipping
into the still water, to slither away
and burrow in the shimmering sands.


Elisabeth Harrahy's work has appeared in Paterson Literary Review, Zone 3, I-70 Review, Constellations, The Cafe Review, Passengers Journal, Blue Heron Review, Ghost City Review, and elsewhere, and has been nominated for Best of the Net. She is an associate professor of biology at UW–Whitewater.

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Phone: 608.733.6633


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3rd Floor, Overture Center for the Arts
201 State Street
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: 608.733.6633 x25