My Father Taught Me To Fish
Why did we have to kill you.
No, that’s not it.
How come I didn’t care or was even excited, exhilarated
by your death. When we pulled you from the sea
and onto the boat, your eyes round with surprise like a man’s
when he’s falling from his chair, you must have known
you’d had it. Something inside
the free and wild
always knows, but who knows
how a cod’s heart works. If it works like mine
then I think I must have heard it— or at least something wet,
I remember this,
drummed itself to death on the deck of our little boat.
I was to teach his whole family English.
It wasn‘t so bad
being shut up in the Finnish countryside
since he lent me
a four-wheel off-road motorcycle
for roaring down
to his private lakeside beach
to wash up
and still my heavy morning-self
in the sauna there.
I would tell him, I‘m going to the bar tonight,
the Finnish girls
are so pretty, so open for fun. Hmm,
he would say,
Once he told me
I just made enough money on the stock
market to buy
3 new Volvos, I wanted to say
but held myself back. The old man was rich
but his wife
owned it all—the houses, cars, the bus
afternoon his family came round
and drank up all my
whisky, they asked how I liked Finland,
I told them
the Finnish girls are great, so open, so fun.
they said, hmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
After a month
the old man said I wasn‘t needed any more,
that I could go.
I went. It’s taken me fifteen years to understand
exactly what he thought
of me. Him with his wife’s money
and his wife’s
bus company and his pocket-change for Volvos.
I guess he’s dead
by now – and the only sweet thing: I may know
what he thought
about me but he’ll never find out what I thought
But I’m pretty sure you can guess what it is,