sand pipers pluck the eyes of junk shad twitching
in mesh nets strewn over the quay as big blue men
string poles along the waters where they always do.
it’s all puffs and yaks before a school sweeps the ledge,
popping rods—howls fly—all the way down.
but the perch stay deep and the dredger never sleeps,
the alewives are few and this mortar should undue,
as I’ve yet to see the martin who sneaks from the crete
to eat and dance in the breach beneath our feet.
several summer skams peal the surface in full silver
sending the pier-men to merge on a mess of twisted lines
and two fools throwing fists over one missing fish.
the ojibwe called her ojiig a thousand years ago
and she’s the tiny fisher these men may never know.