You Come From A Long Line of Norwegian Fishermen
You are more at ease on any boat
than in anybody’s living room, including your own.
But especially on your boat
where talk is laminate sails and Harkin tackle.
No talk of how fishing ended on the bay.
No talk of mussels and lamprey
of limits too low to make a living.
No talk of how your dad died then
of drink and sadness.
On your boat it is easy conversation: courses and tactics.
Sometimes a small hint of pride trickles into the quiet of your voice,
lights the flecks of color in your eyes,
deepens the creases of their corners,
when you speak of some specific Chicago-to-Mac,
never naming how you placed,
remembering being enough.
Out of the harbor you move with a swiftness that belies
your 6’4” frame, confident in the weight of the 1 ton keel,
in the God of sea and sky,
a God known by you in sinew and muscle,
in the wisdom of thousands of miles of rising and falling.
Today you have offered to teach me more
of knots, wind, tackle and timing,
more technical nuance.
I in my life jacket, only remember the bowline,
need help with the trim.
But not nearly so complicated as when
your large hands move
to frame my face.
—Annie Parcels, Menominee, MI