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Christ Calls Peter

A bit out of sequence, but… this is from a somewhat neglected collection that I need to get back to work on.

Christ calls Peter

We cleaned nets which stank from a long night
of nothing and mended them where the sea
snagged and tore them. He wanted to talk.
Not to me, but to the mob coming with him,
a rabble that made me and James look
like tax men.

He climbed aboard. I
had hopes of getting paid for passage, something
for the morning’s work. When he asked me
to drop anchor just a few yards
from shore, I realized I’d been had again,
just as I’d been when our father sold me this boat,
just as I’d been when Andrew convinced me
to fish in this heat.

He started talking
to them. I wasn’t listening at all,
trying to get my nets squared away
without tipping him into the sea.
I noticed the crowd first, how they
calmed before him, faces coming
clearer. He told them the Law
wasn’t helping them. I could
have told them that, I thought,
and turned aside again.

He turned
to me; the crowd thinning. He told me
to put out to sea again. The passage,
finally. And then he told me to let
down my nets for a catch.

I’ll never know
why I did it. Fear, wanting to be right,
to prove him wrong?

I could feel fish filling
the nets, the boat listing, the feeling that something
had to break, needed to break, if we
would live. I remember wishing he would help.

I called for James; they sailed for us, we dragged
ourselves ashore. “Go away,” I rasped,
falling exhausted at his feet. “Is it
enough?” he asked, and then I knew fear—
to have him know my fortune so well.
“Fear not,” he finally said, and I obeyed.

God save me. I was a man
who begrudged him time. I never dreamed
I’d have too much. I thought the sea
would take me someday, or poverty, disease,
or faithless friends. The Law was no help,
nor the word of a father who would sell
me a worthless boat.

They all seem
so long ago now; my father, Andrew,
James, and John, the boat long rotted
on a shore in Galilee. I am an old
man now; I hear  them coming who
will carry me away. I’ve lived longer
than I deserved; I am not fit to die like Him, I
who could not walk the sea to save my soul.

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