Lifesaver

He’d joined on the Daegu because his uncle captained that long-line vessel.
It was grueling work, worse his stomach betrayed him sometimes
when the ocean turned rough, which happened often in deep open water
where the Daegu traveled, much farther from O‘ahu than other tuna boats.

Their voyages lasted longer because the captain was ambitious and wise.
They caught top-quality fish far out at sea, and it commanded top dollar
at the morning fish auctions, where bidders waited for the Daegu catch,
all of them anxious to grab shares of the premium sashimi to be purchased.

But they and the Daegu were not the only ones eager for fine ahi.
Sharks would attack the lines as the men hoisted them up,
sometimes leaping from the water, nearly taking workers’ hands.
His uncle bought a 30-30 rifle and put bullets in the sharks to keep them at bay.

One particularly rough sea day, as he leaned over the edge to haul up the line,
a wave slammed the ship just right, and he flew over the side.
They tossed him a life preserver to grab hold of, but try as he might he couldn’t
swim close enough to grasp it in the monstrous waves, and the sharks circled him.

Just when he feared his fate was to die in a crunch of powerful jaws, a single shark
began bumping him toward the lifesaver which he finally grabbed and was pulled to safety.

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