A poet remembers landing bluefish after bluefish, the sweet aroma on the grill and the new neighbors who were surprised by the culinary delight.

The summer Sound uprising
in splashing rings,
breaking gull cries and dipping wings.
We cut the engine,
cast our chrome and feather jigs — hooking one
after another — leaps and runs, tin-blue
two and three pounders
flashing over the side into the cooler.
Incredible, my brother and I high five.
That’s bluefish, Uncle Bob nods,
a car mechanic enjoying his one day off.

We pull out the old cutting board
and fillet under more swooping gulls.

Back home, cracking afternoon beers,
the blues soak in cold milk. At five we slather mayo,
sprinkle pepper, parsley and fresh dill,
crown with lemon and wrap for the grill.

The new neighbors —
a doctor and his lawyer wife — stop by.
Bluefish? we offer.
No thanks. Too dark, too gamey.
I want to argue — sweet steam rising from the grill —
but Bob just slides sizzling pieces onto paper plates
and hands them forks. Delicious, the woman says.

The husband is too busy eating to talk.
That’s bluefish? she double checks.
That’s bluefish, Bob nods.


This article originally appeared in the Winter 2019 issue of Anglers Journal magazine.



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