© 2012,2013 Jennifer A. McGowan

First published in Agenda in the "Celtic Mists" issue (late 2012)

A turbulent season.
The waves uneven, cross-angled, fretful.
He fights for balance.

A day off means more than no income.
It means weakness, defeat, acknowledgment
that the sea is angry and tired.
Still a certainty, yes, but an empty one.

Insistent chink
of the rosary against the wheel:
relict of faith and the bishop's blessing.
A long time since he's bent his knee
but the tinny crucifix
is stubborn, will not break.
He remembers the soft fragility
of his grandmother's hand
before First Communion;
later, his wife kneeling by a stone.
As much for that
as for anything,
he closes his eyes, mumbles a half-phrase.

Nothing happens. He back-throttles,
checking the LORAN. Goes to set a last line,
needing something to run deep.
Staring up, he wrestles with the gathering clouds.
Whispers a name. Takes a jagged breath.

The whitebait boil to the surface.