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,