(Elegy for a fisherman)

Standing under midnight moon, alone,

The blind old man weaves his dreams. 
He fondles web, salmon gillnet,
Tool of years of living, living.

His mind sees with eyes no longer his.
Worrying web through crooked fingers
He feels his life, his years:
Another salmon, another yet;
Pull web, stretch, pop fish to deck.
Another salmon, another. . . .

"Dad," she says, afraid for him.
"Dad, it's late. You must be tired."
"Yes," he says, shifting arthritic foot on lawn,
Picking yet more fish no one can see,
"I am tired."

"It's slow tonight; you can sleep."
"Yes," he says.  "I will sleep."
But his hands continue their slow work;
His eyes stare blankly, imagining fish.
"Come, Dad, we will find your bunk."
"I will sleep," he says, and lays aside the web.

She helps him into his house 

Where the old man lies down.
And he sleeps, dreaming years,
And sleeps

And never wakes.

'98 Buck Meloy rev. 2/8/11


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