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Fishing On The Susquehanna In July

 I have never been fishing on the Susquehanna
or on any river for that matter
to be perfectly honest.
Not in July or any month have I had the pleasure -- if it is a pleasure -- of fishing on the Susquehanna.
I am more likely to be found in a quiet room like this one -- a painting of a woman on the wall, a bowl of tangerines on the table -- trying to manufacture the sensation of fishing on the Susquehanna.
There is little doubt that others have been fishing on the Susquehanna, rowing upstream in a wooden boat, sliding the oars under the water then raising them to drip in the light.
But the nearest I have ever come to fishing on the Susquehanna was one afternoon in a museum in Philadelphia, when I balanced a little egg of time in front of a painting in which that river curled around a bend under a blue cloud-ruffled sky, dense trees along the banks, and a fellow with a red bandana sitting in a small, green flat-bottom boat holding the thin whip of a pole.
That is something I am unlikely ever to do, I remember saying to myself and the person next to me.
Then I blinked and moved on to other American scenes of haystacks, water whitening over rocks, even one of a brown hare who seemed so wired with alertness I imagined him springing right out of the frame.

Poem by Billy Collins
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