A shining siren seductively winks. It is suspended in a polluted grey bay, gently bobbing up and down between the rocky bottom and thick stands of surface light. It is vulnerable without the collective armour of the shoal. A shoal is one fish, each individual is a scale. A fish can afford to lose a few scales. A mouth is always lurking, always hungrily watching and waiting. Wink, the light hints. The loner must be too young to know that it’s sending all the right signals. There is a prayerful pause of tension. Body all sliver salt and pale pink flesh. The predator is silently hiding with tense muscles before a sharp release from the shadows. Darting up from its darkened holy grotto of rock and grass. Soaring heart quickens, round eyes remain still and wide for its prize. Ravenous and muscular tail vibrating side to side with skill, not leaving a bubble of trace. Slicing through the sea with unhinged jaws, a yearning pale tongue peaks out. Cold metal with a cruel bend slips swiftly up from the bottom of the jaw to pierce through the back of an eye. The pulling starts and the real fight begins. Its wriggle and writhing fights against the force of the woeful wire. The predator will not stop beating its torso and tail from side to side, until it dies. Head tries to pull against the painful hook. Wrangled in defeat, the slick fish is wrestled towards the surface. The arrival is dramatized with an enticing splash. The hand of a boy with a braid in his mullet grasps at slimy scales. Hook dragged from its nook, the head is raised up to face the setting sun and slapped down onto a large rock.
Ciara O’Loughlin is a poet from co. Wexford, Ireland. She is currently working on her first collection of poetry that she hopes to complete after her MA in NUIG. Twitter: @CiaraOLoughlin8