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(for the Hickey Brothers fishermen)

 

They stand side by side

in the low-ceilinged shack;

two strong young men

practicing an old man’s art.

 

Net pulled to line,

hold tight,

over, around and through.

 

Gossamer nets hang low between them.

Two taut nylon lines stretch

waist-high through the room

attached to opposite walls.

 

Ten phrases of six,

then three on the float,

over, around and through.

 

Bobbins in hand, they snail-pace backwards,

catch net to line and tie it tight,

eyes never lifting; rhythm unbroken,

hours a day; days for weeks.

 

Ten phrases of six,

then three on the lead,

over, around and through.

 

Summertime catchers of fish;

wintertime menders of nets,

from their deft hands grow new webs:

Arachne’s opus before Athena’s ire.

 

Bio:

Francha Barnard is a year-round Baileys Harbor resident who revels in the time that retirement allows for playing with words and with various fiber arts.