Fishing Before You Know How To Fish

Author
Courtney Martin
272 words, 12K views, 12 comments

IMAGE OF THE WEEK

We are grateful to Rupali Bhuva for offering this hand-made painting for this reading.

Through the pines and the one maple I hear her.

I shouldn’t have gone fishing if I didn’t know how to fish.

I shouldn’t have gone fishing if I didn’t know how to fish.

There she stands

legs impossibly long

pink and black polka dot swimsuit baggy

pole in her hands

and a little oval sunfish impossibly on her hook.

I don’t tell her, but I do think

Oh, sweet girl, life is always like that.

Fishing before you know how to fish.

Leaving before you know how to leave.

Speaking before you know how to speak.

Fighting before you know how to fight.

Loving before you know how to love.

Dying before you know how to die.

We are all the child with the pole

worrying about who we’ve hurt.

And we are all the fish on the hook,

hoping for mercy.

Her aunt hears her muttering prayer

and though she hasn’t unhooked a fish in 30 years

grabs the wriggling innocent in her hands

and dislodges metal from cheek.

And this, too, is all of us.

Saved again and again by prayer we didn’t know we were saying

and a witness we forgot was listening.

 

Courtney Martin is an author, speaker and mom. She wrote the poem above for her daughter, Megan.