The fisherman casts his net into the water again and again
He pulls it upstream, ignoring the resistance of fish and rocks
He believes that all men climb into heaven, with their fingers bloody and grasping
He guts the fish on a wooden plank with a silver knife, cleans them then puts them into plastic bags
My parents used to love alliteration. They used to say that down at the cannery, you catch em, you kill em, you clean em, you can em, you cook em. And that’s how things went.
The fisherman has fantasies of Steinbeck, of a black shining orb
absorbing him and leaving him
At night he dreams of diving
Of cutting through the brackish black waves, trying to find the glow of pearl or coral or the fish that was never caught
He doesn’t drink anymore
No alcohol, coffee, orange juice, or water
He finds that he is no longer thirsty at all, that the parchment of his throat is soaked already
how or with what, he doesn’t know
He snaps his fishing poles in halves, rips at his nets until they are circles made of rope. He leaves the debris in the woods, under rocks
Next year I will be living in a town near the ocean, near fishing villages of conical houses painted white.
I will chase away the dreams of home.
The fisherman thinks grey and paints red, and eats his fish for dinner
Alone, and without a glass of anything to wash it down.
I am like a fish, I think. Fish are not bad or good, they are simply practicing the rules of existence, trying to survive by running away from problems and people and feeling things too much. When earthquakes come, they shake the fish and their watery homes and the vibrations echo and ricochet inside their ribcages, and through them into primordial chaos, as they glimpse their own humanity in the rocks on the bottom of their respective watery ecosystems, where the molecules of H and O miraculously stick together and become something else entirely with all the sincerity that someone who needs to eat to live can muster.