Earnest at sea
A dinghy battled it's best against the wave. Bow different to stern without a right side to speak of. An old man muttered over one side understanding that the fish might listen and certain St. Peter was not. The boat managed to creak a reply.
Other times lines sang in the wind trailing the vessel . There was song aboard and the oars shared too. These days watching lines with cataract eyes had to give way to dragging nets thrown over ... the bad side. Battered from decades of tie up to piers the edge is as uneven as a graveyard with the smoothness of a loved head stone . Appropriate dead fish came on board over it.
Hauling in again for today. The sun faded polypropylene tightened in it's twist. The rope grey, green and brown where the knots tied to make rhombuses lay in his hands. His fingers swollen at the joints looked like sides of the diamonds cut from the net. Bones forced set angles where joints swelled like lumps in cords. They might unravel in the dark one day. But on fishing days they would tighten being impossible to untie.
A creak of knots and it was cast again in the lake. Ernest sat down watching the plastic play out after the sinking weighted organic fibres. The blue synthetic after the brown now lost to the dark beyond the dregs of reflected day. Tempted to sing
"out to sea my baited beauty
hey ho haul in silver bounty
boys turn to me
boys turn to me
count on board the fishes"
He did not count. Did not sing . Instinct ruled grief and then tie off . Row a ways pull the nets in some internal conversations that drifted into dreams and recall. The past when hands like his, with his, but younger and unbound . Lifted him and the lines from under to over and into the boat. All shifting the number of caulked boards wet and those clinkered dry .
The days brightness gave out to a reflection of fish scales. The setting light defining the grey underbelly of Pisces some-place above. His boat is lower in the water. The end of day in this boat with his boys then rolled up like a herring fillet. Them 5 to 25 years age. Him a permanent old man seen by dead fish eyes. Bodies younger and at least one of his boys alongside singing over the good side while making small string nets. Knots he had taught them.
The net felt heavier hauled in whilst the boat rose in the water.
A fish thrashed at his feet and with useless hands it became both untangled and a temporary part of the sky. Diamonds on hands cracked the destiny and love. Rings around thumbs tallied the hauls. One hand shielded the glare so Ernest could see enough to power his bones home.
Somebody or some kindness pushed a strong wind into his back. He named it sacrifice .