Happy Hour by Jared Nelson

Happy Hour

It’s so hot
the lake pulls us in
like happy hour
to the world’s most dedicated drunks

The rocks hurt my bare feet.
“We’re not here for you,” they say.
So I keep my sandals on
and my glasses
but leave my shirt on the bank

We fish for the sake of pretense
and give up soon enough
when sufficient time has passed,
and then the day is ours to
marvel at the line between sky
land and water
striations — variations —
birdfights like warplanes
minnows and fingerlings
slashing to the surface in the terror of nature

“We’re not here for you,” they say
“You’re not one of us”
I use my flip-flops like fins
limping to shore
wondering if they’re right
or only jealous

The birds can eat us too
if they only have the time to wait
then scatter our scraps like sacramental rain over the water
catching around bushroots where the little fish shelter.
“Finally,” they say.