In the fish markets
and all around the world
it is always dawn
the grey of too early

in row after row
with tails removed
lay agape

no charity here
or selfless love
no agapao only the rain
of the just and the unjust

and they are white
lain there
but the red remains
until the cooking

or the raw digestion
of another
some other fisher of men
some other seller of the fish

Mister Chu tells us that he had many uncles. One worked in a fish market in Seoul. Before that he had been on the boats. When his hands became too stiff for the labor he took a position that paid less, but kept him mostly dry. Calling out in a monotone on the docks. An auctioneer’s assistant of sorts. He said he was a prison guard of the dead who could not dream. He ate noodles, but no fish.

He was from the North (of Korea) originally. And he kept the Christianity he learnt there amongst a small majority of the same. He felt that the cold and always open mouths of the huge tuna were somehow a lesson to him. Some kind of reminder.

Often, as though it were a separate matter altogether, he would read the story of Jesus and the loaves and the fishes out loud (same dull voice). He would not discuss as to whether this was any form of comfort to him.

One day, while talking about the value of education, Mister Chu asked him what job he would have preferred to have done in his life and he answered Apostle. It is true that his only son, a cousin Mister Chu does not remember, became a fisherman also, and was called Peter. An unusual name for a man in Seoul and one he kept secret, using instead Chin-Hae, meaning Truth.

Chinhae was also the name of a district in Changwon City, which is now known as Jinhae. It is on the water and was developed as a naval base during the Japanese occupation, early in the twentieth century. It is a sister city to Annapolis, Maryland which itself (the state, not Annapolis) was named for the mother of Jesus, although some believe it was instead named after Henrietta Maria of France, wife of Henry the First of England.

This is not a dispute that is much entered into on the docks of Seoul where, agape other otherwise, the tuna are still for sale each morning, early.

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