Part 5 Of Trout Fishing In America - Poem by Richard Brautigan
Worsewick Hot Springs was nothing fancy. Somebody put some
boards across the creek. That was it.
The boards dammed up the creek enough to form a huge
bathtub there, and the creek flowed over the top of the boards,
invited like a postcard to the ocean a thousand miles away.
As I said Worsewick was nothing fancy, not like the
places where the swells go. There were no buildings around.
We saw an old shoe lying by the tub.
The hot springs came down off a hill and where they flowed
there was a bright orange scum through the sagebrush. The
hot springs flowed into the creek right there at the tub and
that' s where it was nice.
We parked our car on the dirt road and went down and took
off our clothes, then we took off the baby's clothes, and the
deerflies had at us until we got into the water, and then they
There was a green slime growing around the edges of the
tub and there were dozens of dead fish floating in our bath.
Their bodies had been turned white by death, like frost on
iron doors. Their eyes were large and stiff.
The fish had made the mistake of going down the creek too
far and ending up in hot water, singing, "When you lose your
money, learn to lose."
We played and relaxed in the water. The green slime and
the dead fish played and relaxed with us and flowed out over
us and entwined themselves about us.
Splashing around in that hot water with my woman, I began
to get ideas, as they say. After a while I placed my body in
such a position in the water that the baby could not see my
I did this by going deeper and deeper in the water, like a
dinosaur, and letting the green slime and dead fish cover me
My woman took the baby out of the water and gave her a
bottle and put her back in the car. The baby was tired. It was
really time for her to take a nap.
My woman took a blanket out of the car and covered up the
windows that faced the hot springs. She put the blanket ontop
of the car and then lay rocks on the blanket to hold it in place.
I remember her standing there by the car.
Then she came back to the water, and the deerflies were
at her, and then it was my turn. After a while she said, "I
don't have my diaphragm with me and besides it wouldn't
work in the water, anyway. I think it's a good idea if you
don't come inside me. What do you think?"
I thought this over and said all right. I didn't want any
more kids for a long time. The green slime and dead fish
were all about our bodies.
I remember a dead fish floated under her neck. I waited
for it to come up on the other side, and it came up on the
Worsewick was nothing fancy.
Then I came, and just cleared her in a split secondlike
an airplane in the movies, pulling out of a nosedive and sail-
ing over the roof of a school.
My sperm came out into the water, unaccustomed to the
light, and instantly it became a misty, stringy kind of thing
and swirled out like a falling star, and I saw a dead fishcome
forward and float into my sperm, bending it in the middle.
His eyes were stiff like iron.
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