After we waded into a minor tributary of the Connecticut river,
snowy-banked in January, to gather lampreys in a bucket,
we stopped in a Chinese restaurant in a shopping mall
for martinis (John), a bourbon (me), and a Canadian beer (Henry).

We were the picture of modern fishermen,
garbed in chest-high rubber waders to protect against the cold
and the sting of the electrodes, our fishing devices.
One electrode here, another there, just a few feet away
and every fish and eel in between would rise from the silt, stunned.

You could just scoop up the young eels in a net
and plop them into the bucket.

"You're roiling the water," Henry told me, irritated as I clomped around
in my huge rubber waders grinning and shivering,
up to my knees in the chill water.

They weren't my lab animals, my microscope fodder,
the fuel for my papers, my preprints and reprints,
so I could afford to be a clown and hang around for drinks afterward.

forward          anywhere         lines