By John Grey


Breezes rock the boat

like the sea-mother’s arms.

Lines struggle to stretch out

on all sides of the deck.

They bounce on the waves,

far from any fish.

But the gulls, at least,

are confident in our skills.

They hover over the boat

in expectation of at least one of us

catching something big enough

to share with all.

The wake of a motorboat

slaps the hull.

A yacht that handles wind like a child

glides by,

its crew

a billowing sail of waving hands.

A cormorant does its. own fishing,

up close and impersonal.

This is the side show

that typically trumps the main event.

For today’s catch is poor.

Luckily, we were close by

when the schools of beer ran.

So we’ve enough on board

to drown even the deepest disappointment.

And there are jokes to be told

that surely someone hasn’t heard.

And only one of the gang

is throwing up over the side.

We set off at sunrise

with the usual good intentions.

We come back sun-burnt and headless.

If it weren’t for our empty creels,

you wouldn’t know it was us.


John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Midwest Quarterly, Poetry East and North Dakota Quarterly with work upcoming in South Florida Poetry Journal, Hawaii Review and Roanoke Review.

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