Silver flash of tail,
streak of emerald
beneath a crashing

wave, I first spotted
her swimming alone,
away from the others

who were swirling
and diving, teasing
a grizzled fisherman.

I wasn’t fishing,
just killing time
in my 20s trying

to decide how far in
I should wade, who would
care if I returned to shore.

She circled closer, closer,
breached the glassy surface,
splashed me head-to-foot.

I heard my older brother’s
voice, Don’t stare at the
tail. I focused on the locket

above her breasts, complimented
her scales, casually offered
thoughts on treasure maps,
hot white sand, recent
research on interspecies
attraction, the security

of a monkey knot.
I let her finger the panoply
of intricately tied flies

in my tackle box. As we
settled into each other’s myths,
she unhooked the barbs

down my throat to the heart.
I realized time favors the sea,
the green, dying shanties I sing.

Ed McManis is a writer, editor, father, Head of School and house painter. His work appears in more than 60 publications. He and his wife, Linda, have published Joanne Greenberg’s (I Never Promised You a Rose Garden) latest novel, Jubilee Year. He holds the outdoor free-throw record at Camp Santa Maria.