Death of a Metaphor

by Tom Sheehan

I fished with neighbor Charlie, long from Europe’s great noise and his bomber pilot’s spectator seat back there on top of France, but footed here, on banks of our child-favored lake, September’s sun zoomed in like late October’s Zeus after we had bagged a dozen bottled beers and aligned them down in shallow water until a pickerel flotilla poked about the bag. When sunray, sediment and time settled, his eyes transfixed, and he was knowing what I did not know, the living images of shadowy thinness pointing the way, hung up in horizon’s world of silence, the war-stilled submarines at targets below in Brest, Lorient, Saint Nazaire in 1941, LaRochelle, Bordeaux in 1942, perhaps Toulon in 1943. He dreamt swift torpedoes, oh those they dared loose. The sun’s lake-top redness shivered under breeze, a flag flew, a bugle blew, and the pickerel force darted away, repaired, re-commissioned, ordered to sea to loose Hell, extend true silence on Earth’s watery face. The quiet out there, the final quiet after war, the quiet around us as the pickerel fled, as swift as a bottle cap snapped off by hand made me think of another pal, Parkie’s tank turret popped open to Sahara's rush of hot air inscribing his lungs, Egypt’s bitch light in his eyes. When sun shivered our red lake to alter evening, his dark images died, and the slim, hungry forms, mortal at last, finally slipped under Atlantica as we bid adieu to an unforgotten war and shallow water beer.

6S

Tom Sheehan's "Epic Cures" (short stories), Press 53, won an IPPY Award. "A Collection of Friends," Pocol Press, was nominated for the Albrend Memoir Award. "This Rare Earth & Other Flights" (poems) was issued by Lit Pot Press in 2003. He has nine Pushcart and two Million Writer nominations. He served in the 31st Infantry Regiment, Korea, 1951, and retired in 1990. He meets again soon for a lunch/gab session with pals, the ROMEOs, Retired Old Men Eating Out (91, 79, 78, 77). He can hardly wait. His pals will each have one martini, he’ll have three beers. (The waitress will shine them on.)