Stan Sanvel Rubin's poems have appeared recently or are forthcoming in Gris-Gris, Poetry Northwest, Concho River Review, Hubbub, Hamilton Stone Review and The Laurel Review. His fourth full collection, There. Here., was published by Lost Horse Press in 2013. He lives on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington state and writes essay-reviews of poetry for Water-Stone Review out of Hamline University, St. Paul, MN. He retired as co-founding director of the Rainier Writing Workshop low residency MFA program in 2014.
I am embarrassed by the brief run
of a trout spurting upstream
from salty churn to find a place
predestined in its genes,
its colors brightening as it goes
determinedly to spawn but then
hiding from sun under a rocky ledge
where the boy can find it,
turn it over with a swift hand,
run his fingers gently across its belly,
lulling it the way loves lulls us
into the trance that is
a sweet preparation for dying,
love’s lonely and remorseless way.
After taking a suite in the legitimate hotel
they raid the small refrigerator,
a treasure chest stuffed with everything they need.
The bourbon is bad, but what do you expect?
This is a playground, a garden, a lit stage.
The script, for once, is perfect,
each gesture practiced to strain all error out
the way one learns to blow loose tea leaves
across the surface of a fine china cup.
Illusion rules like a practiced widow.
Love is a ruse. The cornerstone is wit.
No one will lose except the one who trusts.
All that is overpriced will be recouped
in the grand, predestined, surprise finale.