One summer day

about seventy years ago or more
my younger brother, Jim and I
fished for flounders in the bay
under a cloudy mackerel sky.

With the tide rising,
our mother,
good sport that she was,
sat in the stern of Fred Beck’s
small white skiff
and cracked clams for our bait.

Now we boys were not very good
fisherman at that age,
about six and seven or eight.

But within about two hours time
we had hooked and successfully caught
a pail full of flounders of all sizes,
the largest almost big enough
to be deemed halibut.

Our catch included a dozen or so
ugly sculpins
which Mother unhooked with dispatch
by whacking them mightily
on the side of the boat.

We tried our luck in the harbor again recently
but somehow without our bait expert
cracking clams in the stern
our catch was sadly limited
to two tiny sculpins.

After an hour or so
we left them for the seagulls.