Fishing for Winter Flounder
Well, okay, DC said we’d be fishing
for winter flounder, but it was already
March, and Philadelphia that day
dawned sunny and sixty or sixty-five,
so I was wearing sandals and shorts,
had the top down on my MG Midget
when I drove over to Cherry Hill
to meet up with Jack and DC.
The three of us took DC’s car
to the inlet behind Ocean City.
By the time we got there, the sky
had clouded over, the temperature
had dropped to forty or forty-two,
and it was drizzling, a kind of
soupy mist that burrowed deep
into the bones, and stayed there.
And my sandaled feet sank nearly
to my knees in the tidal salt marsh.
And my two jackass friends were
actually having fun, wouldn’t leave,
made me stay hour after agonizing
hour, freezing, shivering, miserable,
maybe the longest day of my life.
And I didn’t catch one lousy fish.
Nada. Zip. Zilch. Bloody hell.
This was in nineteen-seventy-five.
I’ve never gone fishing again.
W. D. Ehrhart's newest books are Thank You for Your Service: Collected Poems and a revised edition of Passing Time: Memoir of a Vietnam Veteran Against the War, both from McFarland.