I would drive the predawn dark to stake
my spot to fish for dinner, to numb my hands in the ice
bucket, to pluck, from the neat stack, a herring,
to fit the skull cap and pierce the eye with a toothpick,
the body double hooked, my fingertips glimmering
with the scales of the dead while the line whined free
from the reel, and the bait arced out over the tidal current
on a point in view of the town where I lived,
where I had become a man
                                                    with no money,
suddenly concerned only with money, for there were mouths
and I had helped to make them —

The eddy swirled, kept my line taut, my
whole body taut though a man a few down the row
laughed, sitting back on his bucket while he pulled in more fish
than he could take.

I hated the other men, hated the ones who caught nothing,
who crossed lines or hooked gulls, who plucked even birds from the sky
and slowly drew them in while they struggled and looked away, even,
finally, in the hands of the man who only wanted them free.

I climbed the breakwater and fished and spoke to no one.

I baited my line and thought of a woman
who would carry my body over the threshold
of our small white house simply with her eyes
because I had brought something home,
for her, for us, our boys at my side
while one fish was divided and indeed did feed many —

(Now to sift the facts for truth):

I reeked of the sea and had nothing to show for it.

Darkling saltwater for a dream
and no other place to be.  

Related

New Zealand rainbow trout

In the Moment

Social entrepreneur Blake Mycoskie discusses how fly-fishing has deepened his life.

aj-cased-tin

Caught In Time

A conversation with antique tackle expert Jim Schottenham

Rybovich Hull 1 - Miss Chevy II - running shot

In the Beginning ...

The Evolution From Dories And Wicker Chairs To Miss Chevy II And The Modern Fleet That Followed.

Kelly age 14

No Place I'd Rather Be

This Father-Daughter Relationship Has Come a Long Way During 25 Years of Fishing

Albacore_Flurry

Perfect Imperfection

Artist Dwight Hwang creates gyotaku fish prints in which his subjects appear to come alive.

_L3I5320 - Version 2

My Boat My Life: Capt. Chris Trosset

Capt. Chris Trosset says his Contender 35 ST allows him to guide even when the weather pipes up

CA6A5707

The Chef Would Rather Fish

When Ned Baldwin Isn't in the Kitchen, He's Usually Fishing, Thinking About Fishing, or Cooking Something He Caught

IMG_9401

The Power of Fishing

Professional bass angler and TV host Ronnie Green espouses a philosophy in which we can all fish together.

prm-Mervin Coleman high res

Laughter Rang off Canyon Walls

Climbing mountains for fish is a spiritual endeavor for the author, whose parents pointed him toward a fuller way of life on Montana’s Northern Cheyenne reservation.