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FISH

When they got there, they found breakfast waiting for them—fish cooking over a charcoal fire, and some bread. – John 21:9

Peter dives into the icy morning waters of Galilee,
his broad sunburned chest so full of regret,
he could not get to the shore fast enough.

The ashen sky giving way to blue,
when he finally reaches the shore,
the sea weighing on his shirt and beard.

Peter wipes the salt off his eyes and walks
to the small fire waiting for him

and when he sits he cannot remember

the words he rehearsed if given the chance
to set things right. But how does one begin
making amends with a friend you denied?

He hears the water rubbing the pebbles,
the robin returning to the cries of her hungry
chicks, and his lung catching breaths.

Then the friend gives Peter a fish, a skin
crisped into a deep sliver, deciphering

the new day’s light. His lips wade the temperature,

then tears off the flesh enfleshing

the nourishment of the deep sea.

For a moment,

he forgets

his guilt,

knows only

the full-bodied pleasure

of a fish perfectly grilled,

over an open fire,

on a spring morning,

with an old friend.

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