Share https://www.terrain.org/mp3/2020/mar/Saad-Microburst.mp3Microburst on the Madison Riverfor Alyson Somewhere the summer fires still burn and so the mountains I promised you sleep behind a gauze of smoke.You learned long ago to write down my promises about this place, and how things I learned here as a boy are lostbeyond the timberline. And you’ve learned fast how to mend a fly-line and make good use of wind. We earn a rainbow eachbefore the downburst makes its claim. The guide paddles into the calm behind a bench the river cutages ago. We pull the willows in tight and let the brief rain heal the valley of smoke.Fan Mountain rises. Then the Sphinx, its brother the Helmet, and the range in full. But beneath the river’s skin we tracea silent trout holding its sway against the current, back and forth over the riverbed, with a shining threadof wake unraveling behind its tail. This easy stroke will be the stone we take back home with us,so place it on the windowsill above the sink with our other travel grails. Someday we’ll need it for ourselves. John Saad lives and works in Birmingham, Alabama. He is the author of Longleaf, the winner of the 2016 Hopper Poetry Prize and published through Green Writers Press.Header photo by Espen Brask Nordfonn, courtesy Shutterstock. Photo of John Saad by Paul Crawford.