MS (8.4.1929 / Marton, Lancashire)

Squid Fishermen Off The Coast Of Japan

*On September 1,1983 Korean Air Lines Flight 007
was shot down by a Soviet fighter jet.*

Squid fishermen off the coast of Japan
notice, briefly,
the whine of jet engines
working too hard,
too close overhead,
and turn back to their nets.

The catch has been poor all week.
There was no money
to buy gasoline for the generator,
to lure squid to the surface
with bright lights.
And ancient squid-brains
had seen this overcast
to many thousands of times
to bother investigating.

Squid fisherman notice, briefly,
a muffled thud
which seems to come from past the horizon.
They haul in their nets,
cursing their fortune.
Had the catch been better
they'd be more curious.

The next day dawns bright and clear.
Squid fisherman expect
their harvest will be bountiful.
For luck, they sing
as they set their nets.
An hour later
they haul in their catch -
red sneakers,
loafers,
high-heeled sandals -
sodden grave markers
for 269 people who died
in the explosion of Flight 007.

Squid fishermen say
this harbor Is haunted
as well as cursed
and move their nets.
Squids note their passing,
briefly,
and return to feeding.

(c) 1994

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