The fish just weren’t biting
like they did in the Southern Potomac
meandering days, lazy like the croaker and trout
that didn’t get away.
The winner’s circle tight among four or five boats,
skunked or loaded, we won the evening silence,
cool enough to dry sweat off a rancid day.
We pan-fried them fast, a second dinner,
an early breakfast,
sweetness, tender and light across our tongues.
July was fat with the calm before or after
whitecaps on the creek, bluecrabs steamed
from God reminding you the meaning
of summer thunder.
Two years after you’d gone
the fish just didn’t care.
I had the wrong lure, a heavy sinker,
bad bait, a shaky hand.
It’s just the luck of the line,
a cast away from the big one.
I can’t keep what I catch in DC,
I can’t fry them from these blackened waters.
I toss a bobber off the dock with
spot memories and perch dreams,
I’m already forgetting little lies you told
at the breakfast table,
the black drum or sly blue that got away
just beside the boat.
This city baits me daily and I bite.
Noise from planes and cars spar with each other,
I can’t hold the rod and feel the play
I miss you, Daddy,
like I missed a thousand fish
just under my hook last night.