My Father’s Father
My father kept a sepia tone photo, he and his father,
their fingers intertwined around lines hooked
with bleeding fish, my father’s chest thrust out,
chin up, his shoulders against his father’s waist,
smiling like the horizon. Both of them quiet
and elusive like my father was to me.
He first told me he loved me when I was 20,
but taught me to fish as a girl. Like he did with his
father, a night watchman, we’d leave Long Beach
before daybreak, our binoculars scanning
open water for the ephemeral swordfish fin
or pod of dolphins. This is where he felt closest
to his father, gone before I was born. They’d wait
for hours, listing in the rocky diesel scented tuna tower,
listening for the zip of the lines, praying for the splash,
the yanking of rods, the yelling for the captain to spin
the boat around, gaffing the big one up, then slamming
her down on the deck. The fish arching and gasping
in the sun, its body, their victory, something impossible
they’d pulled off together, conquering the expanse
of an ocean.Masts flying with triangles of tuna,
skipjack and marlin, as the sun lost hold of the crystal sky,
I know what he might have felt as they pulled into harbor—
I knew, standing beside him on the bridge, floating
in that wordless adrenalin, the two of us looking down
on the circus of blood and pelicans, as we pulled into dock.
Muscle and Bone
There is a river in this body
Held up by muscle and bone.
Summer slips through my hair.
Each night I try to take off
This terror, with breath or
Pinot Nero, pills or pushups
Until I feel my insides melt
Like a song on the rim
Of a wineglass, a ripe fig
Pulled apart. I am a boat
Cut lose from its dock,
An empty chair in the grass
Collapsing like a blossom,
Limpid as the Milky Way.
Cynthia Good is an award-winning author, journalist and TV news anchor. She has written six books including Vaccinating Your Child, which won the Georgia Author of the Year award. She has launched two magazines, Atlanta Woman and the nationally distributed PINK magazine for women in business. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in journals including Adanna Journal, Awakenings, Book of Matches, Brickplight, Bridgewater International Poetry Festival, Cutthroat, Free State Review, Full Bleed, Main Street Rag, Maudlin House Review, Outrider Press, OyeDrum Magazine, The Penmen Review, Pensive Journal, Persimmon Tree, Pier-Glass Poetry, Pink Panther Magazine, Poydras, South Shore Review, The Ravens Perch, Reed Magazine, Tall Grass, Terminus Magazine, They Call Us, Voices de la Luna and Willows WeptReview among others. Cynthia’s new chapbook from Finishing Line Press will be published next year.