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Fishwife Advent

A storm stalks the shore,

the children are tucked,
the fire low under haddock stew.

I push past our battened door,
into the steel gale, out to pitched docks.

Gills break the skin along my hairline,
scales lash and seal my legs.

I plunge off the wharf, through monstrous surf,
wield silver hips against the current.

I sing your name till the weight of it rebounds.
And there, your blunt-nose vessel tilts.

Lobster cages vault off the deck,
graze my fins, shatter against a swell.

You grip the helm and hesitate
—there is no sound, there is no land—

the rain has netted the sky into the sea.
You are nearly wrecked, my love.

And, I could trumpet this fact—
instead, I leap

across the path of the forward searchlight.
Hear you roar, Hard alee! Hard alee!

as the boat bears leeward into the lightning,
as the nun buoy chimes and bobs

and my bowed body strains to keep you
from sea or siren frenzy.


(originally published in Megaera, Spring 2006)

Breathe-in experience,
breathe-out poetry.

~Muriel Rukeyser