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Feast & Fast

The Art of Food in Europe, 1500 – 1800


She is on their side tonight.

A flattened pearl escaping the clutches of the dark
While boats slide free, across sheen-heavy water
Scything the reflection of clouds into shards

Anxious faces peer down.
Ice-flabbed fingers delve into the depths,
grasping for the nets they hope will hold more than silted mud.

Tonight the nets hang heavy with a silvered catch,
Writhing and jumping as the air cloaks them with death.

The men’s other harvest is silence.
A few hours of calm before the echoing raucousness of dawn markets.

The sky crowds with gulls scenting fish.
The boats slip back into the banks.

She fades, a mismatched saucer against the endless cloth of dawn,
as weary as the men unloading their haul.

Deborah Smethers

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