Fisherman’s Daughter

Circa 1989


We leave Sunday morning. The Southeast Alaska sky is a high overcast, slightly damp, the orange wind sock whapping against its metal rod. I lie on my belly on the dock, half watching Dad unload groceries, dropping the milk and cheese into the ice in the near hold. Cookies and bread go in the deep drawers below the stove. The brim of his ball cap, with tufts of hair fringing his ears, disappears into the cabin.

On the underside of the dock, mussels grow in misshapen clumps, rounded hinges snapping at the touch of a finger. I inch forward, the crumbled concrete pricking my chest and thighs, to reach my forearm deeper into the water, water squeezing my skin, the gray light bending my bones an odd angle and turning my fingers ghostly green.

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