OLD WOMAN AND THE SEA
LOPEZ ISLAND, San Juans, Washington I am an old woman who fished alone in Puget Sound and I had gone 84 days now without taking a fish.
Everything about me was old, except my eyes and they were the same color as the sea and were cheerful and undefeated.
I crouched, knife in hand. It was a good knife, borrowed from the herb woman, that wise woman on the lighthouse rocks. My prey broke the surface and then resubmerged a coquette, bobbing always beyond range.
I stared into the depths. The herb woman said, "it is only thigh-deep at the edge. Should I help you?"
"No," I said. "This is a thing I must do alone."
Her presence dark-eyed and quiet as any icon did not matter. I was alone and my blade was sharp like sunlight on the waves.
He came up fast with his head out and I hit him squarely as his sea monster neck came out of the water. His flesh was satin and cold. I reeled him in, hand-over-hand, then slashed. The knife sunk deep and true.
I killed him well.
Everything kills everything else in some way, I thought.
I am the old woman who conquered the bull kelp.
And now I sleep, dreaming about the lions.