The Heat Beneath Our Hands
2018, Middle School, Poetry
I married her
for love, the fisherman said.
I watched as they exchanged their silver gifts
and faulted whispers that meant they loved each other.
His words still litter my mind.
When I was 5, the fisherman took me to the beach on a cold day.
He grasped my hand and told me to let go
of the balloon l held in my hand.
My fingers fumbled the string
and my eyes followed the dot until it turned
His wife choked until she sweat that night
but she thought she was laughing with him.
The fisherman’s lies are still scattered on the sand.
I gazed at his smile
as he slipped his poison into his wife’s wine glasses.
Her drunken fish lolled back and forth into her skull,
as she cried for love,
and the fisherman gave her fragments of glass and plastic forks
to build the islands that he could not wait for.
Ten years later
prints were left on my silt
that night he crept away.
He didn’t wait for her to fall asleep
to take her silverware
I looked as his tires rolled away.
The fisherman left her alone by the man made islands
with the smoke and ash that spun through the air.
Her hands grew feverish
and I watched as her skin glowed to a white hot.
His counterfeited love
left her sweltering, and blind
that the fish that once swam through her head
fell dead and her eyelids had nothing left to swallow.
I heard the soft cry of the gulls scouring for fish
but they collapsed out of the sky
from the last resort of plastic shrapnel
that now filled their tiny stomachs.
I held his wife’s hand for last lengths of her life.
Her wrist pulsed every few moments,
but only to the softness of our fingertips.
One of the topics I included was how climate change affects the food chain. To represent this scenario, I used “eyes” to represent the fish, because eyes are what we depend on to do things, and it is what other animals depend on to survive. I used “eyelids” to represent the fish’s predators that depend on the fish as a food source, as eyelids “swallow” the eye. But because it is so hot that the fish die, the predators no longer have enough food to thrive in abundance. I also included how carbon dioxide has a large impact on climate change. I described how the fisherman drove away, and then immediately after the ocean became very hot, how the fish died and her skin turned white, referring to coral bleaching. As another interest of mine is how we pollute the ocean, I referred to plastic and oil waste when I speak about the balloon and the garbage islands. I presented my opinions on this issue by sharing how humans are betraying the ocean. The fisherman represents humankind, and his wife is the ocean, and I used these characters to portray how we steal oil, fish, and other resources from the ocean, and yet we put in trash when we should appreciate and cherish it as a valuable source.