Requiem For A Fish

A modern sonnet for my Grandpa, ‘Opa’ (Allan Ronald Dabelstein), who died a normal death. Thank you for teaching me to fish.



Do you confuse between what’s wrong and right?

I did first when I was eight and a half:

Opa’s dingy through the great lake did part

water into two as the outboard knifed,

Cut through deep blue with threaded prawns on spikes;

Scrubbed with lemon our fingers in the dark

of sand and the stench of bait in the yard —

stuck under cuticles into the night.

Snared fish writhed and flipped sharing in a fit

And I said sorry for fearing to pull

from twitching lips the bloodied hooks they’d bit,

And he, despite the chemo ate ‘til full

Before turning on his stool to posit:

‘Don’t say sorry, you’re too young to be cruel.’

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