The Other Life
For a long time I lived beneath large windows
Admitting nautical sunshine, one thousand fires.
In the massive pillars I watched the day
Languish in basalt furrows,
Trained to look away only after hours
Of looking toward, to find effort in the least movement:
In shade from the eucalyptus branch,
A muscularity of movement,
Not in the long way the day ended
Up in the coin of the sea, sun on cold silver,
But in mornings burned away slowly beneath my feet,
In tree roots buckling a brick path.
Then one day the fisherman on the beach,
Who always arrived before dawn
(When three fins rise beyond the breakers
And thorn the slick lane to the sun),
Was buried to his chin in the sand,
Trapped with his arms at his side, his pole bent
To a sunken tracing of the dark‑grey tide.
I think he could almost taste it.
There was relief in watchmg from that place,
A secret delight in the study
Of his troubled eyes, blinking back memory
Until it swelled and overwhelmed him.
His burnt face followed the line
Out of sight. He'd never taste
What was on the hook, the other life,
In the sea by the sand that held him.