The orange-morning tide slides up the shore,
in swelling breaths of brine
that christen swaths of dust and shells
with each slow stretch towards land.
My fingers twist through knotted cords,
searching for normalcy
and fish. The contours of this former life
curve around me, so familiar.
Yet smooth terrain and easy roads
seem foreign after Him.
Three times in fear I cloaked my zeal
in shrouds of shrugged denial.
Should I now go forth, proclaim,
this Man I claimed a stranger?
Unsure, I turn back to my work,
pursuing fare to break our night-long fast.
Still empty, though, our boat rocks slowly,
a question mark upturned upon the waves.
My gaze falls on a pilgrim form,
a lone wanderer near the water’s edge.
His feet press halos in the sand
as he nears our little craft.
He shouts a greeting to our crew,
and nods towards flaccid nets.
Throw right, he calls, and so I bend
to pull the ropes around the stern.
A sudden stretch of creaking hemp–
then silvered, flapping fins abound.
Such swift fullness, my soul flies back
to that once-crowded hill,
where a meager meal of fish and loaves
made baskets overflow.
My heart claps out a wild beat of hope
as through the salted spray I squint–
indeed the hand upraised does bear
the crimson sign, the searing mark
of Him for whom I wait.
An epiphany from my brother’s lips,
It is the Lord! he cries.
I cannot bear this boat, a prison now
with its rough boards and oars. I plunge
into the gray-green surf and dash
through shallow waves
to hail this Holy One returned.
My garments drip repentant tears
as before my Lord I stand, and shrink
before His glance. Yet arms of mercy
offer an embrace, then guide me
calmly up the beach.
Carla Galdo is a graduate of the University of Virginia and is currently working towards an MTS at the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and the Family. She lives in McLean, Virginia with her husband and son.