When I Think of Early Romance I Think of Fishing
and how I wanted to practice casting
instead of standing on the actual dock,
worm on hook, trying to wait patiently
for a nibble. And if a fish did bite
and I reeled in the slippery thing?
I wouldn’t know what to do with the body,
gills pumping like an accordion, no music
but the sound of him smacking the dock
as he flailed up and down, leaving
wet prints of himself across the wood.
I liked fishing on the lawn best, releasing
the rod’s button at just the right moment
so the string made a perfect arc above
my head, flying forward.
No real worms, just the red-and-white bobber
and a lure like an earring made of feathers
tied to the end of my line. No real hook
to maybe prick my finger. I imagined
big rainbow trout with polka-dots
and shiny pink stripes rushing toward my bait,
and catfish with long whiskers and frowns,
the black beads of their eyes huge and still.
But really, what I loved most was the tackle
box with its many compartments
and removable trays. Like a jewelry box,
it held the things I was told I’d need:
Extra hooks, some small as Tic Tacs,
others large enough to catch a shark.
Lead sinkers and plastic jelly worms.
A jar of salmon eggs that looked like little
maraschino cherries but smelled awful.
A spool of the invisible string, the stainless-
steel knife with a slip-resistant grip,
and a miniature first aid kit in case of emergencies.