Sharon Black

Cod Fishing, Firth of Clyde

The London Magazine - - NEWS -

We crawl be­yond the ship­yards, past the Cum­braes, be­yond the map’s pale blue to reach a darker zone. I’m twelve,

we’re on a trawler – Dad, ten men and me. Last week’s ac­cu­sa­tion – too old to play with dolls – still stings like salt-spray as I fol­low their lead,

cast­ing baited line and tomboy bluster over the edge. Ten min­utes and my line jerks taut – I drag and reel till sil­ver breaks the sur­face,

lands thrash­ing on the deck. Slam its head! I grab it, drop it, grab it, heft it to a bench,

a gleam­ing mus­cle twice my fore­arm struggling against my own, and smash it harder than I’ve hit any­thing be­fore.

I’d for­got­ten it till now: the mighty head slow­ing with each blow, the weight re­lax­ing in my hands, that wide half-bloody eye

star­ing out be­yond the lifebuoys, as a round of broad hands slapped my back like I slapped that body down.

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