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Category: Robert Adamson

Net Makers

 

They stitched their lives into my days,

Blues Point fishermen, with a smoke

stuck to their bottom lips, bodies bent

 

forward, inspecting a haul-net’s wing

draped from a clothes line. Their hands

darting through mesh, holding bone

 

net needles, maybe a special half-needle

carved from tortoise shell. Their fingers,

browned by clusters of freckles

 

and tobacco tar, slippery with speed—

they wove everything they knew

into the mesh, along with the love they had,

 

or had lost, or maybe not needed.

During my school holidays I watched them

and came to love this craft

 

of mending, in our backyard by the harbour,

surrounded by copper tubs brimming

with tanning soup brewed from

 

bloodwood and wild-apple bark.

These men could cut the heart clean

from a fish with a swipe of a fillet knife

 

and fill buckets with gut flecked

with the iridescent backs of flies

as it fermented into liquid fertilizer.

 

I’d water my father’s beds of vegetables,

rows of silverbeet, a fence of butterbeans.

In the last of the sun, I’d watch

 

our peacock spread its fan;

the hose sprayed water from a water tank, house high

fed by gravity.

from Net NeedleFind more by Robert Adamson at the library

Copyright © 2015 Robert Adamson
Used with the permission of Flood Editions.

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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