First Caddis

Musty fur and rusted hook, this is
my oldest elk hair caddis, the first fly
my father let me tie myself. He lifted it
to the lamp, said, This will do. And yes,

it raised a bright, native speckled trout
from Trapfall Run, like I’d only seen
before in Field & Stream. My father took
the fish from my line, placed it in my hands,

but it shook free, slid down the gravel bank
back into the water. I watched it dart away,
splashing across a riffle to a shaded pool
beyond my casting reach. Don’t worry,

where there’s one… he said, striking
a match against an oak to light his pipe,
an iridescent scale glued to his thumb
glinting in the April morning sun.