The Price of Fish

In his previous life, my father ran a long-line
fishing business, here in Honolulu,
his crew all Korean Nationals he’d sponsored
to come over
along with their families.

My father a mega foster-father,
with mega foster-family debt, helping
these men, their wives and children,
cosigning mortgages, car loans, credit card applications,
helping with grocery bills, doctor bills,
electricity, water, and phone bills,
rarely reimbursed, shouldering
the financial burden of so many.

I’m a tourist here, on the fish auction floor in Busan,
listening to the screams in Korean over
the price of fish,
some bids for a special, individual one,
others for batches, all fresh off the boat.

In my previous life I would go with my father
to the pre-dawn fish auctions in Honolulu,
listen to the chorus of cries, the coda a catch
rarely paying what my father and the crew
had hoped for, but most times enough to cover costs.

Here now, in my current life,
listening to these Koreans fight
about the value of fish, in an angry language
I don’t know,
I do understand their curse to settle for
the ironic highest-lowest price, and I hear
my father’s cries, and here, now, in the middle of Korea,
I feel like I’m back home again.

* * * * *

Today’s word is

understand

Use it in, or to inspire, a piece of writing, and then post what you wrote as a comment below. I would love to read what you write : )

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