A String of Fish

I was passing by in a friend’s car,

on our way to Doctor’s Cave beach.

We were friends reminiscing, talking,

looking forward to a lazy, idyllic day.

It was beautiful outside, the way the sky mirrored the sea,

a striking depth of blue frosted with clouds.

Looking out the passenger window,

I motioned Rick to pull over.

Hanging from a crooked stick beside the road

Was a string of fish.

All I wanted was a picture,

to capture a spear fisherman’s bounty from the sea.

These fish must have swum in a school,

 close to each other,

Darting in and out the coral rock.

They looked like friends,

uniform in size,

oblivious to the menace above.

I could imagine him, floating, suspended,

the sun glistening on his back.

The furrow of his brow, inhaling deeply,

 as he pulled the rubber taut on his spear.

Silent, deadly as a mako shark, shooting them one-by-one.

The spurt of blood in the water as he attached each fish to a string,

then tied it to his waist.

He barely cast a shadow, soundlessly hunting with grim purpose.

Flippers moving in unison,

glass mask protecting his eyes.

I’m sure he thought about their worth in dollar bills.

A line of fish tied with a length of string.

Their scales glistened brightly in the afternoon sun,

hues of red and green like tiny crystals on a hanging chandelier.

You could tell he had just caught them;

standing close my nose smelled the sea.

I thought about cooking.

Scaling each one over an opened sheet of old newspaper.

Using my knife to slice the belly, removing  the entrails, then the gills.

A cascade of coarse ground salt and pepper for seasoning.

A string of fish,

Swaying slightly as a truck thundered past, inanimate, perfect for frying.

I thought about their white flesh,

hot and flaky and the crunch from crispy skin.

I used my fork to remove the bones,

pointed like needles both big and small.

And when I was done,

and ready to leave.

I looked at this string of fish;

their eyes staring back at water so close.

Eyes larger than mine,

unblinking and somber.IMG_6610IMG_6611IMG_6612IMG_6609

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