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I Saw The Sun 

From the deck of a trawler

two hundred miles off Halifax, Nova Scotia,

March 7,1970.


The lights they turned on when we fished at night

went on.

I didn't even notice.

Load of cod on deck.

The man with the knife cuts their throats.

We rip out their guts.

Throw them down

to ice in the hold.

Decks awash in fish,

slick with guts and blood.

I pick up another cod.

A fisherman tugs at my sleeve,

and points up.

White light,

pure most beautiful light.

Until I remembered

it can burn out your corneas.

Thank god it didn't burn out my corneas.

I resumed plucking fish from the deck.

In Boston awaited

my third truly important girl friend.

Fourth if you count my mother.

But she was not my friend.

She was that crazy lady who raised me.

Now she is my friend.

When the hold was full of haddock, cod,

pollock, fluke, and winter flounder

we steamed home.

Winter night

flying spray

steaming fast

bringing catch to market.

The trawler stopped before we entered Boston Harbor.

Thick ice covered

railing, net and ladder.

Heavy wooden mallet.

Smash ice.

Stiff bristle broom,

sweep it out to sea.

Our fish were sold

before we even left the boat,

before dawn arrived.

I never went out again.

You can't have a relationship

twelve days out, forty-eight hours in.

I was young.

I liked trying things,

liked saying that I had an adventure.

I wonder what or where or when,

if not for my third truly important

girl friend.

That was the eclipse of the song.

Unless Carly says no.

I waited forty-four years to tell this story.

There, now it is told.

  • A poem by Alan L. Silverman.


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