Gary Metras: Two Poems

Gary Metras is a native of western Massachusetts where he still lives. He is a retired educator, having taught middle school, high school, and college. His poems have appeared in such periodicals as Gray’s Sporting Journal, Hawai’i Pacific Review, Poetry, Poetry East. He is the editor and letterpress printer of Adastra Press, which specializes in handcrafted chapbooks of poetry. He is also a fly fishing enthusiast. His new book, Captive in the Here, is due from Cervena Barva Press in 2014.



Seven trout caught
	and released on 
November seven. 
	Coincidence, not magic 
in a world no longer 
	magical, except, perhaps, 
for that pair of brookies
	I watched spawn—
hooked so mindlessly
	by the flow of instinct 
that I waded within inches 
	of their gravelly bed 
before their urges
	screamed the flight song,
and they scattered, 
	alarmed, confused,
as disappointed as
	I am on those days 
the door closes 
	between us 
and we forget to kiss.


The Roof Nail

Three weeks after the new roof, we thought
we’d plucked all the loose nails from the gutters,
behind the rhododendrons and hollies where
the juncos and sparrows will shelter from
winter’s icy breath, and from the lawn edges
were these nails hold their secret, pent-up anger
for the lawn mower’s blade, I see the car’s rear tire
is low, squat down, and find a roofing nail buried
deep in the thread, its galvanized head dulled from days
kissing the bitter asphalt, punishment and revenge
in a single act. Of course, there’s more to the story.
We were on the way to the State Fair that we’d not
been to since the children were young—who can
enjoy cotton candy and the whirly-gig in their sixties?
But we had tickets for Bowser’s Oldies Revue
with Gary U.S. Bonds and Lou Christy, who held
our youth hostage for so long it had almost been
forgotten in life’s progression. The forecast: rain
with lightning, but we didn’t care. We wanted our
teenage selves born again, even if only for an hour.
We had stopped at the mall on the way to use BabyGap
coupons for our granddaughter, who seems to outgrow
everything in a month. The store’s aluminum lights
hung from the ceiling like loose roofing nails.
But this omen revealed only in hindsight. Why
so much of life is this way: after-the-fact truths,
like the cat’s litter box too full of liquid never seen
as cancer until too late, or the lifeless eyes of the school
bus driver recognized in the mug-shot only after
his arrest for molesting a third-grader. But back to
this day, in the parking lot, where I first saw the deflated
tire: We drove, limping, a few hundred yards to the other
end of the mall where Sears Automotive was waiting
just for this. By now you realize this is not my story, alone,
but yours, also, and it is your turn to add some words.

It’s okay if there are defensive workers to encounter,
or wet stadium seats and no towels, and even a muddy
ground that shoes tap the beat with splashes. It’s
perfectly alright, too, if the rest of the evening
has no hitches, though that would probably be
unbelievable, given the narrative’s twists. So let’s
just say that after the show your throat was sore and
you were shocked to see in the men’s room mirror that
you had suddenly, mysteriously, gone bald and gray.

What are you looking for?