Rock Fishing

for my mother
published in Waiting for the Southerly

You used to fish off rocks
under whiskered cliffs
where crabs eyed me sideways
clicking like mice bones.

I watched your skill
with knife and knot,
your toughened skin
stained with gut.

I peered in pools
gummed with limpets,
anemones tugged my fingers
like blissful newborns.

We had the salt and wind,
the gulls poised on updraughts
and the far reach
from beach to open sea.

Now you cast
off weathered planks,
turn your eager eye
to the rocks, alert
for the sign of a taut line
a glittering catch, a run of kings.

Our reflections shudder
as the bait dances below.

(previously published in Poetrix issue 32, May 2009 and Best Australian Poems 2009 (Black Inc.)