Fishing All Morning at Montour Run, Freezing

Because we are growing afraid of everything that breathes
and have nothing left inside us.
Because my brothers and me haven’t seen each other
in too long. Because Montour Run is close and we have had luck
here before, where sometimes the aluminum run-off
dyes the water an “unnatural blue,” where it was stocked days before,
and the trout that float in holes
are occasionally large and eager, and the smear
of chartreuse PowerBait tacks like old cream cheese
and is hard to wash off. Because wriggling redworm,
the quivering maggots, lumpy butter
worms, and hardback waxies. Rainbows, the “pelletheads,” will bite
at anything: canned corn, salmon eggs, spinners, shiners, spam,
maybe white bread. Then they quit as if tiring of all
the slow dying; they see our lines splashing,
watch them float right by. I drink a flat beer, feel my hands
numb. We stand in the cold for hours catching twigs
impossible crow’s nests that clog reels, the rooster tails
we cast lost in a heron’s nest or taken
by the creek rocks. A man waders through our lines,
pulls the fish from our spot and sloshes downstream carrying a stringer
of vacant eyes and flapping tails. Better
to be lucky, hard to hope when fingers are ice. Back home, cleaning
these ammoniated brooks and rainbows feels nothing
like living off the land, and still, we will gut them
brine them smoke ’em drench them
in spice. When we pry the mud vein away with our nails,
slice into organs full of fluorescent goo,
cut at the meat, pulling out the bones that would lodge
in our throats given half a chance,
we will swear up and down: I’d like some more of that.

What are you looking for?