Gone Fishing

by Ariana D. Den Bleyker

It’s almost as if I can smell the air of Galilee, 
hear waves crashing, the thin, clear of water no map can name, 
hidden places. I love the way I find them, 
the way I follow no channel, just sound tangled 
in the shore to where slow water opens a hole to cast a net into, 
& lift from the well bright shadows of Heaven
fish held in my hand, the air around me alive, 
the water cooler & clearer, the sun brighter, the sky bluer, 
the fishermen surrounding me casting 
their nets methodically, cheerfully. 


In the waveless sea, deep blue under deep blue, 
the fisherman drifts by in His tiny vessel. 
Above Him the cloud-capped hills, 
& He flicks his wrist, throws a net across continents. 
I can hear it swish, slice clouds, going wherever there’s water, 
gathering the surge of body & fin, a miracle—
the submerged shaft of sun split like spun glass 
swiftly moving into the crevices, in & out, illuminates
the turquoise sea of my body, 
grabbing at my soul like a lion in a cage 
until I long for the smell of fish.


& the fisherman says, Follow me. 
& He smiles until I shed my scales for Him. 
& with a song on my lips, I too become a fisherman, 
raising my net, casting my soul, reeling in love, joy, peace, 
patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, 
gentleness, self-control, the fruits of the spirit; 
my cast not a question of strength 
so much as a relinquishing, 
that the net’s release is an extension 
from the wrist to the heart. & I’ll keep casting my net, 
& when it does not come back empty, 
I’ll step again into that small boat that carried me out 
& watch the bank recede—facing Heaven, 
trying again & again to find that perfect cast, 
gathering up the braids to find the fish writhing in my hands.

Ariana D. Den Bleyker is a Pittsburgh native currently residing in New York’s Hudson Valley where she is a wife and mother of two. When she’s not writing, she’s spending time with her family and every once in a while sleeps. She is the author of three collections and twenty chapbooks, among others. She is the founder and publisher of ELJ Editions, Ltd., a 501(c)3 literary nonprofit. She hopes you’ll fall in love with her words.

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