a squid looks upon the face of god

Tommaso shows me a video clip
of the squid he caught on his fishing trip

I watched as he held one up to the light
from the torch he wore to go fishing that night

‘Look how its colour shimmers!’ he said
‘A ripple of pattern from its tentacles to its head!’

‘It’s like they’re warning each other of danger!’
Then he dropped it back in the plastic container

It lay staring up like a stranded alien
And I suddenly felt bad for all the calamari I’d eaten

I mean – I know a squid eats shellfish and such
and probably doesn’t worry about THAT overmuch

but a squid can’t leave the safety of the sea
and stroll down the road to Sainsbury’s like me

I wish it could; maybe we’d chat
about the cost of seafood and stuff like that

And I must admit I’ve felt quite hooked
ever since I saw how that poor squid looked

draped over Tommaso’s black gloved hand
out of luck and over land

its gills flapping pointlessly
as it flashed its skin iridescently

and I bet if a squid believed in God
it’d be something with a torch and a fishing rod

swallowing the hook

I like to ride with him out to the river
the fisher king, the life and death giver
with his flies and his floats and his stale white bread
his fish blood hands and his fish blood head

I like to lie in the grass half asleep
and watch his fishing line flick and leap
as the wide river slides and the fat sun thins
and the maggots keen softly in their little round tin

now I’m old like you and I live by the sea
and the same fish swim out to look for me
It’s true, I tell them, I’m the son of the king
I’ve swallowed the hook, now reel me in

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