by John Grey
I've forgotten their names.
Was there a Carl? A Joey?
I remember one had a mother
who always packed lunch for all of us.
Why can I remember peanut butter and jelly
but not even the faces
of the ones who cast their lines
like guitar strings,
one good strum of air from mine.
I can even repeat the jokes they told
though I couldn't repeat them here
What a strange fog of a past.
The taste, the filth, comes through
but not the people.
And nothing is more vivid than
the pride when we actually caught something.
Undersized river trout were
of trophy caliber to us.
I can see those sorry fish held up by their tails
as if it's only yesterday that
they bit into those conniving hooks.
But the fingers are a mystery.
The smug grins are ghosts.
The past is as welcoming as ever.
But now there's no one there but me.