Naked sea in a still place

This is the sea’s end, this cobbled, fishing village,
How the sunset’s breath draws on my hobbled walk.

Cod and halibut, once scooped from the deep brine
By weathered men, salt air nettled in calloused hands.

Why is it so quiet, why are fishing boats with blackened bows?
Their water-lines gasping for a breath.

A quietness dampers the street sounds,
It stretches for years, the shrunken, aging voices.

Aging wooden crutches, half my older size;
The creases in my face, etched by salted wind.

Storms and rain like anchored chains, pummeled the fishers,
Is it any wonder we all survived?

Is it any wonder we weren’t all swept into the darkened abyss?
Drowned among the mackerel, kettled schools

Who swim with their backs against us,
Silver and gray like the perts of our bodies.

The sea, that bred these,
Creeps away like a sea snake, slithering distress.

This tired, aging, salted body has no mercy for us,
Why should it, it is the hearse of forgotten souls.

O unforgiving sea
What dregs sigh, what brine in our throats.

And our families, worrying,
Drawn together like a long pencil line.

On the widows walks, hands writhing
Things, things.

Oft, I hobble to the breakwater, spotted with wooden debris,
I am a fisherman, not a land attendant.

I am no longer a smile,
Our children here for a fish, with empty hooks and cries.

And their hearts too small to bandage,
Do I fault the sea?

They watch the fishers vanishing
There is no help from their weeping mothers.

Now the sailcloth, gray and tattered, flickering
In the wind like a pitiful candle.

It is the tongue of a dying profession, remember, remember;
What is the name of colors on the sinking vessels?

Old wood like stumps in a harbor;
Their names disappearing, wordless and slow.

Naked sea in a still place, necessary fish once in search
Of a net; pallors of fishing hands no longer gather.

Copyright © 09/01/17 lance sheridan®

NP1

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