My Father Dreams of the Sea

Not for him the phantoms
of high squall waters,
where green swells spit
hard pellets onto skin.

And neither will he pine
for shallow tropical pools
so clear, you can see the seabed
disclose its litter of shells.

No. It is his birthday. He fishes
on black Welsh rock,
his children shoaled
to stand beside him.

The sea beyond is chopped with bass
and as each hook is cast
the line will strum
with a fish’s ready weight,

birth it upwards, into a shiver
of wet steel, a bucking beat
of freckled stone and moss.
It is the best day he can recall

since he first tied clinch knots
and waited for carp and chub
by village pools, with their Grail myths
and tales of drowned ordnance

and as the bass gasp on stone
his mind’s time signature will flip
and his children are young again
seated in the back of a hire car,

slurping on moules frites
bought from a seafront shack
and the taste of salt and flesh
is sharp on his lips again,

and in the high waters of sleep
he smiles into filmy light
because the sea has sealed into amber
and time will never run.

Daniel Bennett was born in Shropshire and lives and works in London. His poems have been published in numerous places, including Atrium, Eye Flash Poetry Journal, and Under the Radar. His chapbook Arboreal Days is published by Red Ceilings Press.

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