Friday, June 14, 2013

A Fishing Poem

Alaskan Fishing Stories

Reading fishing stories
for the anthology I’m editing
is dancing with the past.

I whip around my office in power scows
and skiffs, wind in my hair and beard,
full of testosterone, not a fear to consider.
Packed with confidence built by muscle
and ignorance, I pick fish like a madman,
go out on deck in fierce seas, drink too much,
do too many drugs again, and fall exhausted
into my bunk, to sleep deep and dreamless.

No need to dream tonight. I have been dancing
at the bar where fishermen go between periods,
and we closed the place down. I shot pool like I was on TV,
and we fired potato-guns at beer cans out back
after snorting a line we drew out on a Devil’s Club leaf.
My crew and I smelled like fish, so we showered in our clothes
in the Pioneer Hotel in Homer, and soaking wet
took a cab back to the boat to change.

I came home and you weren’t there. The house was dark,
your car wasn’t in the drive, and to save my life,
I had to figure out why.

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