My Last Fishing Trip

En route to Colorado for a final getaway
to Climax, Dinosaur, or Hygiene,

towns where I could easily cast myself into
a jon boat and fish for something

the depths hold secret,
I wanted to call and say I’d given up

on the idea Elvis might be living
or that our marriage would scab over

while I was gone. What I found was
Hammond, Louisiana, the sweaty crotch

of the U.S.A., its legion of cavemen
and three-hour pizza delivery.

Charlie Rich never expected to die
in this rancid alligator back-wash, and yet,

there I was in room 109 at the Holiday Inn,
Charlie’s last stop, calling a repair shop

for a busted transaxle and fluid leaking
from the underbelly of my truck.

All I wanted was to move forward toward some moment
in life where family is proud for the good

work I’ve done. Whatever
the world did not want me to find,

I never found in Hammond,
say, for instance, happiness, or a few bucks

tucked in my back pocket, or the girl
with two answers: yes and maybe. Something

as good as that. Stranded with few options
and toting the weight of pink slips, past due notices,

and a process server trying to track me down,
even Last Chance, Colorado whispered there’s hope

that a boat can drift across God’s mountain lake
exactly the way a bowling ball can’t.

By William Walsh

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