Casting Nets: Gulf of Akaba: Sinai
by Hagop Merjian

I saw that he belonged to this sea,
To water, and salt and the flesh of this
First water, and he preyed on it not
With steel and lever, engines and matrix.
Only net.

Witnessed his arachnid fingers, fretting,
Sunbrowned tentacles, spinning, spooling
The gossamer web in the lustrous jade of dawn
Light, casting, over-casting, hurling -
Sending with long-limbed lean arcs, the
Small baitfish, squiggling, spine-hooked, out
Over, above, blinding the claw of the sun,
Plop, into the shoal of a million silver sard.
On the edges, lurking, hungered the Akaba 'cuda.
Eel-like arrowed magic, lank teethy snout
Longer than his wrestler's shank body,
Taunter, sporting devourer, feasting on the
Leaping frenzy of the netted school: lambent razor.

It was punishment seeing this gleaming muscle
Lose its invisibility and come to us: taken body.
What was a scream on a line held with blood-cut hands
Took on the shame of shore life: the angry, futile throbbing.

Fearful lest that saber-mouthed rapier-sting
Slash at the gloat of the sun and his hands,
The old Arab split the darted snout, pressed
One jaw, then the other, slow, firm and deathly bray,
Until top, then bottom, cracked and broke on
The trunk of the palm log washed up at his feet.

That done, he began to sing. Or pray.

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