“Swings Below Sea,” by Gabriella Alexis; Inspired by: Fishermen Returning to Boyton Inlet
“Caught,” by JoAnn Steger Hoffman; Inspired by: Sam Ogren Sr. & Jr. Father Son Fish from Delray to Bimini
“Under the Boat,” by Stephanie Casio; Inspired by: Fishermen Returning to Boyton Inlet
“My Old Man and the Sea: A Cento,” by Jennifer Grant; Inspired by: First sailfish, Diane (Martini) Brewer (1980)
“Catch and Release,” by Allen Sweat; Inspired by: Irwin J. Sinks’ Tackle Box, 1926
Inspired by: Fishermen Returning to Boyton Inlet
SWINGS BELOW SEA by Gabriella Alexis
The manatees shift away from the shore,
placing the luck they have on their shoulders
keeping them safe from the weather’s downpour.
The hot and cold air is getting bolder.
Singing in the surfaces air packets,
the community contours October.
The goal is to make it through the tropics
and tread along underneath below
It forms into a dream, catastrophic.
The reality is not red bordeaux
it’s merely the only fallow.
Gabriella Alexis is a senior at Miami Arts Charter School. She majors in creative writing and is a published author. She has recently been published in Rattle, Orange Island and Creative Communication. She lives in Miami with her mother and grandmother. She loves poetry and spoken word.
Inspired by: Sam Ogren Sr. & Jr. Father Son Fish from Delray to Bimini
CAUGHT by Jo Ann Steger Hoffman
When the man and the boy
push out the boat
when they yank the cord
that binds them to the round peach light
when they check
the swarms of silvery mullet
in the bait pail —
it’s not about the fish.
It’s about the boy.
About the way
the father guides the boat
across the morning channel
wakes its mirror-surface calm
and steers the son into the chop
of open water.
How the father tests the breeze
scans the surround
gauges the depth
steadies the keel.
How he models the cast
and watches the boy
then watches the boy
reel in the catch —
caught in the sport of father and son.
It’s about the boy
who helms the boat home
and stands next to the man,
the magnificent fish
weighing the space between them.
Jo Ann Steger Hoffman is a writer, editor, and former corporate communications director whose publications include a children’s book, short fiction and a variety of poems in literary journals, including The Merton Quarterly, Pinesong, Fall Lines and New Verse News. Her 2010 non-fiction book, Angels Wear Black, recounts the only technology executive kidnapping to occur in California’s Silicon Valley. A native of Toledo, Ohio, she and her husband now live in Cary and Beaufort, North Carolina.
Inspired by: Fishermen Returning to Boyton Inlet
UNDER THE BOAT by Stephanie Casio
Fish shoot across the water like stars overhead
their scales glinted akin to wishes kissed by kids
that have been hoping and praying in their beds.
Nanay says not to swim deeper, she forbids,
but I know gems are found along the sea floor
like shining sand dollars waiting to be bid.
I dream of coral castles with tortoise doors
to dance with clown fishes and sea horses,
and battle lions with poisoned barbed armor.
Turning and tumbling with the ocean’s forces
I let it guide me with motherly hands
to places unknown. The salty spray coerces,
and through my goggles I sift through the sand
finding the beauty in fertile flooded lands.
*Nanay: “mother” in the Filipino dialect of Ilonggo
“Stephanie Casio (she/they) is a senior from Miami Arts Charter who is in the creative writing program. They enjoy writing subject matters close to their heart such as their Filipino heritage and mixing elements of it into their poetry and prose. On days they are not writing their fantasy novel about pirates or creating cathartic poems, they are elbow deep in AP Psych homework and can’t wait to get exams over and done with.”
Inspired by: First Sailfish, 1980,
Papa Hemingway and Tina Chang’s ‘Hybrid Beast’
MY OLD MAN AND THE SEA: A Cento, by Jennifer Grant
Where are you?
Father, champion angler who
phosphorescence in Gulf weed.
So kind, so beautiful, so cruel
blue formalized iridescence
Don’t be shy.
Take reel and rod, devote
attention to waiting work.
You told and told for years only boys
gripping claws like soaring eagles.
Alone now, I fear I’ll vomit,
lose strength before first light.
The moon illuminates from behind,
shadowing you, my long deceased dad:
Born to be
a fisherman just as a fish was born
to be a fish.
Feeling faint, I clutch tightly—
dip my quivering pole overboard
Follow the tide.
Jennifer Grant’s poem, “My Old Man and the Sea: A Cento,” surfaced after listening to poet Tina Chang’s discussion on ‘The Hybrid Beast’ at this year’s Palm Beach Poetry Festival. Jennifer combined a dash of fishing and a little Papa (Hemingway, that is) to the mix. Her first hybrid collection, which meanders through the alphabet of poetic form, Good Form, is now available through Negative Capability Press. She lives in Gainesville, FL. jenniferlynngrant.com.
Inspired by Irwin J. Sinks’ Tackle Box, 1926
CATCH AND RELEASE by Allen Sweat
The wooden box sits with a lead heart
in an attic corner yet it’s filled with
memories caught long ago
in the flashy chrome of the lake now
sealed among hooks dulled by
sandpaper mouths of bass, line frayed
rough as the dorsal of giant mahi mahi
pulled free on a winter afternoon.
Trophies with their own stories.
Go ahead, open it. Feel how sharp
memories grab at your hand like
the Creek Chub plug diving for that next
world record. How the bobber, red
bottom barely dry, flashes you like
a new toy straight out of the package
bought yesterday at the hardware store.
As you close the lid for 90 more years
light the cigar and listen to the brown worm
beg for release back into Lake Ida’s
green waters or the yellow fly’s plead
to float the blue Gulf Stream currents
in hopes of hooking another spirit
racing against time to net the hope
found in each new Delray morning.
Allen Sweat was born and raised in Athens, Georgia and lives in West Palm Beach, Florida with his wife and children where he works in the aerospace industry. As an outdoor enthusiast he enjoys fishing deep inside the Everglades and along the coastal waters of South Florida. His work is forthcoming in Apalachee Review and has appeared in publications such as The Liner and Emerge Literary Journal. He studies with the Writer’s Studio in New York.