Rockport Smoked Fish Company
Sometimes I think you wake up at the Rockport Smoked Fish Company, working long hours to preserve fish in the family business. You held fish fillets in brine while your brothers placed the wet flanks side-by-side on large, steel racks. I can see you mixing salt into ice cold water to make brine, your 11-year old hands stirring the liquid with a canoe ore, stirring yourself into manhood. Pieces of bluefish smoked into tender jerky rested in your cheek, just as your father did for more years than he had left. What remains is the fine grain of hard work. When the neighborhood kids played hide and seek and street baseball, did you glimpse your future, working hours you own to clean stained carpets and smoke-filled sofa sets? I know so little about how to be a good man, about dreams held underwater until they become something else. What I know is how to wake you when you've already gone. When you return, I kiss the salt from your tired skin.