Catch and Release
Mike knew the Technicolor
possibilities of pan fish
and cruising through
on Stockton Lake he taught
me, his little brother,
their possibilities, too.
Dad's just back from Vietnam, married to Ginger still. My half-sister—they
are all halves—shows me a picture of our father and her mother on the
beach in Puerto Rico, a damp Tuesday in April. They seem comfortable, but
he knows she is sleeping with his brother, was the whole time he was holed
up in rice patties and field hospitals, in fox hole charley alpha. A transistor
radio plays—wouldn't it be nice if we could wake up in the morning, when
the day is new and after having spent the day together, hold each other close
the whole night through—but the tide is still, frozen at the serrated edge of
the chrome print.
Ben, please write and tell me every goddamned thing please lend me a
cigarette and give me a drink of your whiskey friend please make me listen
really listen to what you have written because the world may never know
our valor may never know our mothers and these Ozark Mountains which
were never really mountains at all.
Mama had four sons. Marty killed himself, Mike tried. Randy and I stood at
the edge of
the pond skipping rocks.
To understand men is this—we cannot
without each other
and the time is passing. We catch
what men means
we catch meaning only
to release it.
Consider the salmon—the female
lays her eggs in a shallow
gravel pit. The males
deposit their sperm,
their milt, and swim
off. The female covers the eggs,
and dies. But really,
what of the salmon men?
I cried in front of Loren last night and some psychologist I read in college
says this is the new American male. What a feat! Loren cried, too, maybe?
and we are this newness but why were we sad? This was in the parking lot
behind my apartment building on a Thursday at half past dusk. I asked what
if it doesn't matter, doesn't matter at all? Loren hunched down I understand