You Could Never Stay Silent For Long

I knew you when you were a fisherman.

When your hands, chapped by years

of salt and sea and wind and rain

caressed the wrinkles from my face,

wiped away my fears,

sent me young from the sailboat

you could never say you owned.


I knew you when you were a trout.

When your silvery fins flashed

by moonlight or star, your lithe body

parting the sea better than Moses

dared dream when he begged

his god to cast off his chains.


I knew you when you were a poor child.

When you were begging for scraps of bread

on street corners. Urchins were your only

friends, but the night sky set you free

to dance alone in a world lit golden

by the smiles of your many faces.


I knew you when you were green.

When the sun couldn’t touch you

without gasping in delight at what

wonders it had brought forth, for the

acorn had flourished in brambles, now

its branches crested the top of the world.


I knew you when you were a fisherman.

When the chop and spray and rushing wind

tipped you from the hollowed out log

my grandfather carved for you with

a song and a promise. Castaways

never last long except in comic books,

and this was never a story worth telling.


I knew you when you dragged yourself

out of that pit you were born in.

I knew you when they dropped you

into that pit you stayed in.

LUKE HENTER is a high school senior from Charlottesville, Virginia. A proud graduate of the Iowa Young Writers Studio and Kenyon Review Young Writers Workshop, his work has been published in Textploit, Phosphene Journal, and Inklette. Both his poetry and prose have been recognized by the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. He likes dark chocolate and warm sunny days, harbors dreams of becoming a professional world traveler, and has an intense fear of spiders. His most prized possession is a rubber poison dart frog named Penelope.