He would never truly know the finer points pf selling fish,
The way a back aches from lifting, bending, stretching,
How the screaming sun burns the skin a ruddy brown,
Leaving behind bits of freckles here and there, muddy raindrops.
His retreating boat was all she could see when she closed her eyes,
His crumpled straw hat and white shirt, the flag of his departure,
But without that lone sea walk, what to do, to eat, to sell at market,
Nothing left on this beach but white sand, blue-grey and a rush of
Oh, but to be one of these gathering ladies of wealth and wisdom,
Pale and fine featured in full dresses beneath their open parasols,
Their day holding all the promise of a summer’s lengthy afternoon,
Soft gloved hands beneath both perfectly clean and smelling of roses.
But for this fish seller, jewels are rough scales of a still-flapping fish,
Glimmering in the breathless heat of that same afternoon’s sun,
No scents but the fresh flesh of this death that brings their life,
From the forever staring eyes of a fish seller’s daily work done.