John 21


Poignant musht*

in a balm of fishy-charcoal,

sand cold still

from the night.


The charred wood

could write volumes on the hearts

of 12, no, 11 men in tunics,

veins busting from skin salty

with ocean and sweat.


The loved one cannot write

the words though,

try as he does. It’s the smell

of morning and the peopled

wooden boat that prevent him;

anything white becomes

radiant in the early dawn.


He hangs back

and listens to words

exchanged that will travel

centuries, and even then settle uneven

in the hearts of men.


It’s all too wonderful

to expect such things,

but he must,

so he chooses the

third person


as though he were someone else.



*common fish caught in first century, also known as St. Peter’s fish.