Astride the dock and gunnel the boy capsizes.

He swims with the fishes, wishboned, he baptizes.

The water breaks his fall, so wide eyed I jump in,

waiting for no son of god or sons of bitches.

After I pull him up from his quiet bright float,

he tells me, “Dad, I saw the bottom of the boat.”

I had to sputter up alone, eyes not open.

Saved before the father is very auspicious.

The father unmoored casts the lure in the water.

A comforting rod spares his sight for the bobber.

It’s me rocking the hull of this fisher of men.

If he lands one for her supper it will fix this.

Do babies hang the word on the line as a joke,

or will they take the bait on the end of the hook?

Bitter in the tummy, sweet as honey on the tongue,

they taste their names in the book of life. Delicious.

He could lift me like Peter, submerged in my doubt.

To see if I’d sink and swim, he could throw me out.

He’s a sailor who can’t break the surface tension.

Please keep me, catch and release gets repetitious.

I am frozen between. The cork never twitches.

We babies hover safe. They try hard to trick us.

Pray with Tertullian, “We are little fishes,

born in water, in the image of our Ichthys.”

Ichthys, 2009, acrylic on maple, 8”H