Marlin Strike

by Paul Pines

He breaks

the surface   a splinter of buried light

tail-walks the water

dives back

runs/ tugs/ stops/ circles/ approaches

runs again.

He and I.

We speak through the line.

He tells me how much he wants to live

rejoices in his power

before tiring

then comes willingly along

our starboard side.

Caleb “wires him”

holds him close

talking softly

strokes his bill

removes the hook

swims him until

his color


deep purple stripes

and his gills

move again


The fish bites down twice

gently on Caleb’s hand — signals

he’s ready to go

we gaze into

the perfect roundness of his eye

and watch the boundary

between us



in that great wink of eternity 

the Divine Child

watch him swim


the unconscious

conscious of