One time a fisherman
fell in love with a rock. The man
loved the rock, which was stern, strong
and indifferent in a way he could never be.
It was so much older than him.
It was so detached from its body, its shell,
even the idea of its own existence.
Sometimes the sea raved. Sometimes
it dreamed. Sometimes it rolled
its eyes under the waves. (Each
of them said: fish.) The rock wondered
what the impossibly monotonous babble
was all about. How something as feeble
as water could be so full of things to say.
One day the fisherman took a leftover bottle
down to the sea. Only a glass missing.
He left his gear sitting on the rock.
Drank from the neck.
A blackback landed on a nearby point.
Sat with him for ten minutes.
The fisherman had a vision of the sea.
A wave came up so quickly he remembered
a dream where he slid down a mountain.
Instead of snow, he was looking at a wave.
His arms stretched out in memory of sleep.
He was surrounded.
The sea stretched as far above him as it did below.
It had no centre.
It filled every gap in him.
He saw a red bubble through the surface.
Someone was throwing stones.
His skin was flaking off.
From the dream of another world, that world
was trying to tell him something.
He opened his mouth. The sun wept.
Something like a sun was stirring
inside him. He wanted to run
and tell his family.
Red swallowed everything.
He floated for three days.
Woke on the shore.
He washed his wife’s feet when she came to visit.
He foamed and yapped for his son and daughter when they played on the beach.
For the rock, he laughed and roared.