Time Being

Time Being

The hook

For Alessandro

Still sea, stilled in the morning heat,

Limpid sky with nimbus building up

Somewhere between the cardinal directions

And the water, clean as a lens.

I walked slowly through the receding tide

Ahead of you, since we stopped walking

Together a long time ago. Long enough

That now my mind rejoices in the moment.

There it was—a fish with bluish fins

Trapped by a hook and forgotten there

Together with the hook, dying in pain

While the horseshoe crab walked by.

By the time you caught up with me

I saw it was still moving and I saw

The hook in its mouth. The summer

Of separation must have been like my hand

Pulling the hook very gently out

Of the mouth of the fish, you,

Barely convinced to keep it still, so that

I could work out that last twist of wire:

Its mouth open and trusting, its eyes wide,

Understanding my touch and the shape of hook.

I was distanced, focused only on

Seeing the fish back in the deeper water.

You were stunned holding its body

In our daughter’s t-shirt, unknowing,

Unknowable, even as I coaxed it and it

Swam alive, and free, disappearing while

I looked up at the faces of the children,

Trying to explain how it started a second life;

The fish nowhere to be seen, and you:

Left with the hook and the line in your hands.

August 14, 2021

You can learn more about Carmen's collection of poetry here.