Poet’s Corner: ‘The fisherman’s daughter’


The fisherman’s daughter
By Jonathan Burke

A daughter fishes
with her father
on the waters
of the Lagoon.

She wears
orange bibs
wool sweater
and hat
rubber boots
and gloves
as does he.

They are out
on the pond
in the bare light
of the sky.
The scalloper
is caught
and turned
in the breeze.
The boat leans
its shoulder
to the work
in the sea.

they grapple
with the line.
They are
side by side
at the rail.
He feels
her nudge.

That little girl.
She shouts for him.
She runs so fast
dodging whatever
is in her way.
She jumps up
into his arms.

Those years
now no more
than the trail
to his stern.
He had struggled
just to stand
along the others.
That sweet girl
always helped him
find his feet.

They hoist
the trap
from the pond.
Mucky water
pours and spills
in a cascade
from the catch.
The eelgrass
of the bottom

The trap hangs
on its line
off the side.
The scallops
are swept into
the cold shroud.

His years
on the boat
long ago
his soul.
His whole body
reaches out
for the trap.

He grasps
the metal links
with his fingers.
He leans back
on his heels
and pulls.

She watches him
swing the trap
in the single motion
to the culling board.
She is hopeful
for a good catch.
He looks up
and sees her.

She is not a fisherman.
She is a daughter
who loves her father.
She fishes with him
on an otherwise
lonesome day.

He smiles.

Jonathan Burke lives in Vineyard Haven and works at the Oak Bluffs library. He enjoys writing poetry, and recently started writing about his outdoor adventures for The MV Times.

Poets with a connection to Martha’s Vineyard are encouraged to submit poems to Poet’s Corner curator Laura Roosevelt at ldroosevelt@gmail.com.