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Words You Never Tell a Guide
[Mio, MI. May 1, 2001]

If I was a physicist
designing alphabet bombs
we’d all be dead as black holes
through my incompetence.
my guide is overwrought
that I have lost a big fish,
handling a 5 wt like a 2 x 4.
He tries to console
with the tenderness he might employ
if Taiga’s having a bad retrieving day,
only she doesn’t have such days.
I was philosophical.
They’re just fish.
He looks at me the way Marcel Marceau
might under torture to make him speak out loud.
Those two words don’t belong together, he says
he stammers.
Just fish!?
Did Hemingway say just a lion when
he missed a shot?
Did Joe DiMaggio call Marilyn just a girl?
His fifty-six games, just a streak?
Did Nixon proclaim, just a glitch with his tape recorder?
Apollo 13, just a re-entry?
Wayne Gretzky, just a few goals?
Evel Knievel standing at Hell’s Canyon, just a jump?
The 1980 win over the Russians just a hockey game?
Just a fish, just a fish. Jesus, god.
He was silent the remainder of the float.

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