They say that every day itīs a work of God
when the captain fits his belly
into the tiny bridge of the St.
With his crew of two heīs famed to cast more nets than anyone
his license is for angler fish
but if a rock crab, squid, or lobster gets entangled with his catch,
he takes it home, or brings it to his barmanīs wife.
His ship is the smallest in the port
and every night her elfin form
takes shelter in the thickset web of
while evening promenaders on the pier
search her out amid the argosy,
the wee St. John,
flagship of the seaīs vicissitudes that day;
if she is back in harbor, then all the fleet is safe.
Sometimes the captain goes to sea
when larger boats and angels fear to tread;
he trusts technology, his radar is as grand as on the grandest ships,
a top-heavy aegis riding shotgun on the waves.
His wife is a redhaired Galician
with perennially tousled and unruly curls,
Rubenesque, with porcelain skin in winter that
tans to honey beige,
a lilting giggle,and a smile that dances in
her teeth protrude in a bewitching way
so that her mouth never really closes,
a seductive imperfection to accentuate her grace.
Her blood pressure runs high;
it canīt be easy, comments go, living with the captain.
Weather permitting, she sews his nets
on the porch of their workshop cabin
that sits on the curve to the harbor.
She likes to visit as she works;
she knows the news of all the town,
weddings, births, and for whom the bells were tolling.
She never criticizes, and she says
the best we give to anyone
is the benefit of a doubt.
As she chats she slowly ambles backward,
stretching loops and weaving mesh that hang from a nail in the wall
her hands a blur, more quick than any eye can follow
but as she speaks or sings she never drops a knot
of her fishermanīs filigree.
At end of day her hands begin to slow,
her gaze drifts out to the horizon,
and as she sews she keeps her watch for the St. John.
When its bantam form appears, she minds its slow approach;
then while the captain squeezes his belly from the bridge,
drops anchor, moors his ship, and with his mates unloads his catch
and throws his torn and useless nets ashore,
she goes to the mirror, smooths her salted
lips with balm,
pats her cheeks, and brushes her unruly curls;
when he arrives,
she helps him change his rubber boots and soaking clothes,
hangs his souīwester up to dry, and locks the cabin door;
and chatting of their day they go to A Marina Bar
where she drinks her carbonated apple juice
and he his Seagramīs Hundred Pipers
that he used to drink with Coca-Cola, but since
the doctor said heīs getting older, and needs to heed his heart
and he knows Coca-Cola isnīt healthy,
nowadays he mixes water with his whiskey.
And on those days when the sky turns black,
gales blow, and torrential rains come suddenly,
as routinely comes to pass in Galician coastal waters,
or when her captain has gone out alone,
she sits at her cabin window, the lace of her net in her lap,
her hands stock still, her smile and giggle gone,
with eyes that cleave to the sea,
awaiting the return of the St. John.