The Fish

My grandfather on my mother’s side
was a great fisherman.
Though I didn’t share his passion,
I would go and sit beside him by the river,
my float drifting, hook unbaited,
catching nothing, reading Homer,
while he seemed to swirl beside me: a djinn
inside a flashing silver weave
of fin and ruby blood, in love
with every living moment of the day.

I was far away when he died
and missed the funeral, but later, by his grave,
I watched my grandmother
stand alone against a darkening sky,
and knew that unseen down below
he was part of the curving world
that supported her as she stood there,
and also when she walked away.

Six months later, I saw him once:
a fish from the neck down,
lazily swimming between the reeds,
wrapped up in his own thoughts.
He didn’t see me
and I was able to watch him feeding on insects
for several precious minutes.
Then, with a dull gold flick of his tail
and a smile on his face,
he went from my life forever.