Advice for vegan fathers on the occasion of their daughter first catching a fish

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1.

When your father, the fisherman, teaches your
daughter how to catch a fish, understand
that he is teaching her his form of worship.

2.

As he threads the bloodworm on the hook
he will explain in plain terms that this,
with calloused hands is how a fisherman
performs a sacrament.

3.

As he talks to her of torsion
and how to harness it when casting,
know that this hurling of a line
across the autumn sky is how
he offers up his prayers to sea.

4.

Having guided her hands each turn
of the reel, steadying the line
as it coils across the spool, if he holds high
the fish she has sung in from sea,
life now spinning out of it as light
know that this is how he finds
and offers her his proof
of gods within the salt.

5.

When he asks you, steady as a reef,
if he should kill the fish in front of her,
honour the ritual- when he kills the fish
he will turn away from her, as he did
from you, and as he holds it tight against his ribs,
slides a blade into its gills
and pulls
she will come to know the sound
of food upon a plate
is the cutting of a throat,
a ritual of thankfulness.

6.

Honour those who wade into the waves
to find communion with their gods- do not, in hubris,
dare to think that as you don’t eat meat,
you’re somehow more enlightened
or less a friend to violence as you,
alone at last with thought go fishing
for your signifying gods, calling them to shore
and as you hurl your hands into the sea,
pull out some gasping memory,
you’ll hold it tight against your ribs,
slide a blade into its gills
and pull.

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