Eel Fishing, Leahi Beach

by Arturo Ruiz

Could I ever convince you to go back
to that night sitting on the rock wall jutting out
into the Pacific? Diamond Head's old man face
watching us wait forever for tugs on our line,

a signal that we've caught that elusive lightning
hidden away in the crevices of the rocks.
A summer sky blends into water.
Beneath us tiny phosphorescent fish,

with their night vision, make their way
to the edge of the Earth, back to the constellations.
We eat cherries, spitting out poison-filled pits.
Turning our faces toward the mists off the ocean,
we talk about everything but—

God dials down the knob on the night
and the stars brighten. Then a jingle bell signal:
We finally catch one, its skinny whirling dervish dance
all silvers and greens. Contain it to a bag and hang

it from the rocks. We strip the clothes off
our bodies, jumping into the water. A rush
of ripples surges out across the sea,
our message, unbottled, to a bedridden world.

The bag on the rocks it's wriggling, violently,
as if it contains a million moaning stars. The eel,
restless in its captivity, eventually reels
itself free
               (and after all that waiting).
We intended to let it go, though, didn't we?
But what else did we lose, without meaning to?