We only half-expected to catch fish.
Two early pick-ups left the nature strips
behind: the oleanders and snow apples
and wet roads at dawn led to our river camp.
First things first: wrigglers shoved on hooks,
six-packs nestled in sandy wet pools.
The actual fish was a shock: brilliant, molten
and too alive, dancing through the stunned grass.
We froze and leaped like we'd ourselves
been pulled roughly into another world.
My sister's boyfriend made it still at last, and
undressed it neatly for dinner.
We remembered that story, Carver,
with the body and the river, and how they
kept on fishing. So much water.
By the time we wrestled parachute tents
and whacked in off-kilter pegs, the world
yellowed and desperate cicadas sang along
with our Eagles covers. It had been my
idea to glamp up the food, and I placed
my bare eggplant in charcoal with
misplaced flourish. The verdict was quietly
unanimous, until like the fish he put it blunt:
Dude, seriously, tastes just like sawdust.
At least the fish passed muster and we
made a very acceptable soup from her bones,
parsley, and a lone carrot.
The sun, a long time caught in the trees,
disentangled and left our day still pink.
I wandered, trailing my fingers through
the midges and dangling a slack beer
to the water's edge. Easy breaths.
In focus: the water parted around
a lump in the river, heavy and wrinkled
dark and I could see hair, a knee.
My toes curled into the sand I pressed
out into the water, dropped the beer
my shouts coming back at me from the rocks
until it flipped. Lazy turn in the water,
the hair slipped away and turned grass
the knee reared and I saw bark
as the log dislodged, rolled. I rested my
palms flat on the water like I stood in glass.
Includes suggestions from:
@spikelynch: desperate cicadas
@xutraa: oleanders and snow apples and wet roads at dawn
@pinknantucket: dude, seriously (Supernatural)
@timsterne: tastes just like sawdust (Ren and Stimpy, Powdered Toast Ad)
@ernmalleyscat: and we made a very acceptable soup from her bones (log of Douglas Mawson, Christmas eve 2012)
@JayJayCee1: eggplant in charcoal