The Oarfish

An oarfish came
to the surface to die,
rising into daylight,
a nightmare-seed
twenty-three feet long.

It entered the shallows near where
a man was painting
an eye of Horus on each side
of the bow 
of his leaking boat,
hoping to keep it just a while longer,
perhaps one more trip,
perhaps with luck and one more season…

He looked down and saw the oarfish —
frilled, silvery,
slow going, taking forever to pass —

and thought of luck and fate.
He looked into the new flat eyes
of his old livelihood, considered
how long he’d been here, how long
he had worked, how long he’d
fished without ever seeing anything
like the oarfish in a net or on a line,

and bent his head.  Lord, he thought,
I am so tired, and my boat is so old;
there is so much left to learn, to see;
so little time to learn it in, but
learn it I must, learn it
I shall.

What the oarfish
thought of all this
is unknown for
b
y the eye of Horus,
by the eye of Ra,

there’s no telling
that tale of a life
spent in darkness
and ending in light
that would not have
too much of us in it
and not enough
of what the gods intended

when a poor man
was moved to change his own life
by watching
something he thought was fantastic 
die.

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About Tony Brown

A poet with a history in slam, lots of publications; my personal poetry and a little bit of daily life and opinions. Read the page called "About..." for the details. View all posts by Tony Brown

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