by Noah Dehmer
Hard puller,
we left it
dragging on the line
and the line disappearing
down the swelling sea behind us,
got the yukon spuds from under the bunk,
picked off sprouts,
boiled up clean water
down in the shadowy cabin.
The captain set us wider 
from the south wind to pull us
on fuller sails to keep the line tight 
and we used strength we didn’t have 
that the fish would give us back 
and we moved fast.
When I took the reel
the captain held his breath 
but the line 
spooled, no fight,
no panicked side
to side against the hook. 
It skidded closer on the waves
like loose plastic or a jellyfish no
a silver glint 
Nick pulled up by the line 
a fish but motionless, turning
on the hook oh jesus
a big hole 
in its belly
shaped like a jaw.
Silver skin scraped
all down its length 
from manic razors. 
At least one organ spilled itself
onto bright red open muscle. 
A beautiful tuna. 
The captain carved
around the bite 
while I readied the pan,
and I wondered why we weren’t
dancing around holding up the fish 
in a parade of hunger 
as we had the other times – 
then about the shark, the fish pulling away
that pulled against 
the south wind fixing 
the hook in its jaw,
rushing water confusing the jaws maybe,
snaps missing, nicked. 
He passed down to me
big cuts through the hatch.
Rainbows scattered 
across the scales 
up to the spine’s broad black stripe,  
a clean wet pupil-black. 
The silver gently 
jagging into the black 
looked like a horizon 
on fire
burning through the night.