All I love and want is one-hundred fifty sea
Miles distant, fishing village near Portland,
Maine, coastal safe harbor, hearth and home
With my beloved wife, Rebecca Anne. On this
Frigid night, gale-force winds howling, we
Take Atlantic cod off Georges Bank like my
Father and his before him, deep-water trawler,
Freezing spray heavy on the bow.
Diesels churning, halogens burning overhead,
Turning steel trawl decks from night to glaring
Day, we are over-washed, scuppers flowing, foot-
Stomping, fending off bone-chilling cold. As we
Make one more set, time crawls amongst foam-
Streaked seas, Atlantic cod flip-flopping from
The trawl net, hundreds of beating hearts quick
Frozen in the round, Maine’s off-shore fishery.
Protected by foul-weather gear, gloves and boots,
I yearn for these hard sets to end, to dream of
Rebecca Anne, our home, eye lights when we
Tie up, smells of fish, diesel, and cigarette smoke,
Warm hugs melting sea ice, few resting hours in
My sleeping bag, escape from straining cables
Droning engines, pressing northward through
Ice-cluttered shipping lanes.
When I’m home and rested, paid some on the
Bills, and anticipating the next trip out, all I
Love and want is one-hundred fifty sea miles
Distant, cod-thick pitching seas and crashing
Bow, a tug-of-war between those I love, Maine’s
Rocky shores, the wide Atlantic, and always
Making white water to and from Rebecca Anne,
My constant guiding light.
For more on Maine’s depleted Atlantic cod fishery, click here: