Roger Jones The 2River View, 6.2 (Winter 2002)

Flounder Fishing Near the Refineries

Fishing in the bay, just off the line
of oil rigs, we’re close enough
to land to smell wet reeds, hear water
swish back and forth against the marsh,
yet close enough to the platforms
to hear the clang of steel, the putter
of engines pulling pure crude to the top.

Hardhats on break or loafing dawdle
and watch us, hang hands over the rail
and look down, daydreaming. Now and then
a copter buzzing the shore scares up
a pelican along the land. The waters
go swish, swish, gray-brown, sudsy,
a dirty froth riding small choppy caps

like heads on beer. The scent of oil’s
in the air, clatter of industry, regular
chatter: someone’s national hymn,
all metalwork and production. But what we
fish for flatten themselves along the slick
inlet bottom, look up, sometimes take hours
for bait we trawl before them like gold.

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