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. 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,
the full-bodied pleasure
of a fish perfectly grilled,
over an open fire,
on a spring morning,
with an old friend.
This story of Jesus finding Peter to ask about Peter’s intention, and especially this detail of Jesus preparing a breakfast while waiting for Peter and his friends to return to shore with their catch, is the tenderest scene in the Bible.
I’ve Lost my Grandpa’s Marbles
I’ve lost my keys,
I’ve lost my glasses,
I’ve lost many a sock,
which eventually meant the whole pair.
I’ve lost my marbles,
the one my grandpa gave me,
the one he played with as a kid,
a Korean peasant orphan,
when Seoul was still dirt and a village,
which he kept in a silk pouch,
embroidered with a gilded dragon,
which he stole from a yangban,
which was his only possession,
which he gave me when
he immigrated to America,
after-which he lived just two more years,
and he tried to discipline my tongue to say,
sa-rang, so-mang, na-ra, no-rae, see,
to which I told him, I have no need for your Korean,
after-which he taught me to play marbles.
I’ve looked all over
for those glass translucent worlds,
those swirling balls of yin and yang,
those tear-shaped drops of memories.
Perhaps it was inexorable karma,
to lose what was never his to give
or mine to receive,
or maybe it’s just the
fundamental law of discovery,
you never find what you seek;
stop seeking, and you will find:
and my wife
gravity, the linchpin for his bodies
in motion and their affections,
which fell on him in the palm-sized ball
of an apple one fine picnic-morning,
so the story goes, though
never my socks, and i can’t
trust that paradox enough
to stop looking for my grandpa’s marbles.
there are other things
I’ve lost of such significance.
For example, I lost meaning,
and my cat.
Actually, I couldn’t have lost a cat,
since I never had one,
but it feels like I did, because tonight,
I long for the solace of my hand
running over a cat’s weight on my lap.
Can you lose something you never had?