Fish Story

By Perie Longo

A fish is catching a man in a book

I’m reading to my granddaughters

who giggle that can’t be


I’m reminded of the day

he plucked me limp from

a roguish wave sputtering salt


slapped me on my back

and when I opened my eyes

to the hook of his gaze


forever I was his

followed him across various seas

should another swell threaten


even learned to dive beneath

the surface of light

deep into forbidden caves


When children came along

we bought a fishing boat

on Sundays rumbled off the coast


cast our lines for sport

always drawing up mackerel

shimmering silver


but tasting foul as oil

a friend said just rinse them

seven times before you bake


advice that did no good

a tease that sent us farther on

for bigger game


from behind a storm raged forth

a demanding fish we could not tame

that took him out


it was a Sunday I remember

and his lasting gaze

the grandchildren laugh again


a fish can’t catch a man

oh yes it can I say

and turn the page


Perie Longo has led poetry workshops for the Santa Barbara Writers’ Conference since 1986 and leads her own three-day Santa Barbara Summer Poetry Workshop. In 2005 she traveled to Kuwait at the invitation of Kuwait University to speak about poetry in psychotherapy and conduct poetry workshops at various sites. She was selected as Poet Laureate of Santa Barbara, California, 2007-2009. Her poem “While Watching A Video Of The Dalai Lama,” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2002.

Her work has appeared in Atlanta Review, California State Poetry Quarterly, Connecticut Review, descant, Eclipse, Edison Literary Review, Green Hills Literary Lantern, International Poetry Review, Lullwater Review, Nimrod International Journal, Paterson Literary Review, Poet Lore, Prairie Schooner, Quercus Review, Rattle, Reed Magazine, Sanskrit, Schuylkill Valley Journal, Slant, Solo, The South Carolina Review, Stand, Studia Mystica, and Wisconsin Review, among others. She also has poems in several anthologies including Breathe: 101 Contemporary Odes (C & R Press) and BabyBoomer Birthright (Poet/Works Press LLC). She has published three books of poetry: Milking The Earth, The Privacy Of Wind, and With Nothing Behind But Sky: A Journey Through Grief.

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