Everything in my day, everything that I see, and feel, is rough

Standing still, my clothes damp with sweat and sea, rubbing
my calloused and achy hands to warm them, I look across
the water and I believe we’re both tired

Every day I arrive before the sun to prep my gear, then set
out with the hope of a good catch to be followed by good pay

The heavy canvass covering my boat and the ropes that hold
it fast against the night’s wind

The stout rope that holds my anchor in place as I cast my nets
to port and starboard

All cold and spiney, looking for soft places to shove splinters into
my hands and arms where I’m not covered against their assault

The oar handles, heavy in the morning and heavier in the evening,
rest across my lap, creaking quietly in ancient oarlocks giving voice
to the roll of the sea

My arms, always grateful for the rest, but my mind overshadowed
by worry, hoping for fish to find their way into my nets

Everything is kept rough by the relentless sun and wind, both wicking
out moisture until all that’s left is a brittle, tough husk of wood and
man with no respect for good or not so good


It takes everything that is offered and then waits patiently for you
to arrive tomorrow, on the ready, greedy to absorb whatever has
been renewed through the night

The only smooth surfaces to be seen are the millions of multicolored
shore stones

They’ve been here countless years, through countless lives, their sharp
edges burnished to smooth, rounded, seamless, multi-colored pebbles
as far as the eye can see

They make a soft, wet, grinding sound under foot and I sink with each
step I take toward home

The walk warms me, heat building from exertion, defeating the chill
from the water that creeped in under my layers

My front gate is as worn as my oars, but what lies beyond makes the
day seem successful, that I am worthy of the blessings inside

As I reach for the door I examine my hand, it’s old with cracked nails,
the skin dry and weathered like my boat

But inside

Inside I am like all the shore stones

The expectations or others, comparisons to my siblings, theduty imposed
by friends and village, all worn off to find the original me underneath




As far as I can see

Until the morning