A Fisherman Called James
D. S. Martin (bio)

  The expanse above peers into the depths
Here fishermen reap  as though they’re netting
featherless birds  from the blue hills
where cumulus sheep casually drift
Land  sky   & sea all merge in Galilee
They fish for musht  grip heavy nets
which shimmer   & rip into their hands
drip into water   & into their cedar boat
The sons of Zebedee float  across the face of the deep
lift sails high  dip oars  into the inverted sky

  James & his brother grew up on this shore
familiar with the way squalls rip
over the hills   whip up mountainous waves
& how the sea behaves
  He knew how bad this storm was
darkness churning  above & below
surges tossing them  as he  Peter  Andrew
& John  pulled at the tiny ship’s oars like slaves
fearing the spill of water over the gunwale
& so he was all the more startled
when all ceased at his Lord’s  Peace  be still
& yet  on a similar night crossing  after he got
over the shock  was more able to accept
Christ’s walk across those shiny waves
  Often  while his ears listened to his Master talk
to the crowds  his eyes would sail
over the Judean hills  that appeared to undulate
like Galilee  bearing boat-shaped clouds  For years
he’d watched bright seabirds easily float
on a breeze that seemed as constant as water
as solid as earth  & so again he was better prepared
when Jesus rose into the sky & disappeared from sight

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