Of the undercut bank and the small side channels
and of all the bends and curves in afternoon light,
fish, but not on private property.
Of the rainbows, struggling with whirling disease,
catch, but release immediately back into the water.
Of the brown trout the color of summer wheat
and flecks of sunrise, and of all other trout with white
tipped fins, catch, release, and do not covet.
Of frozen cod and halibut, put them in your shopping cart,
but be aware the oceans are depleted; of the fish sauce
and other condiments, of tuna found in tin cans,
read the label, for trouble may be caught
and carried therein.
And when you reach the place where the river splits
do not try to fish all three braids at once;
of any one you promise to take fishing, take fishing;
but if you are tired of your brothers, and have been
sitting on the couch for too long, quit your games
so you may submerge yourself in moving water.
And if you are fishing your favorite run, or in a run
that holds some kind of intimacy, keep your breath slow
so that your heart does not run away with you.
Neither raise up your rod and line to strike the water,
nor place your legs in the deepest currents, for that is an abomination.
Yes, even when you have caught a large fish, pumping your fist
and hooting are an abomination, and worthy of rebuke.
Take your fishless days as they are given to you, neither use them
to whine about life or to find solace in women, for that is not
what they are for; if you go out drinking beer and talking
about how good a fisherman you are, you will be sent away
from my presence, for there is no more room other than
that space made for Chinese or pizza or tamales.
When you have finished, let the empty pint then remain upon the table,
and do not spin it contemplating about lost love.
(Marginalia, Volume 2, Issue 3)