Poetry by Alexandra Melville

 

Fishing

 

Looking for work is like fishing
in over-fished waters
after the trawlers have been.

Pitch out line after line
in thin, black wire.
Sit, slouchingly taut, a hung sack,
with an ache across the blade bones
like a yoke,

a flat, dull ox bone
carved into art
by a Neolithic fisherman
waiting for Neolithic fish,

neat, gouged cuneiforms
to be excavated millennia later
by an archaeologist’s
fluttering fingers.

Nothing bites and I
am not a patient person.

Some fish I am not allowed to catch.
They have been corralled
behind rings of bright buoys.

I cannot try for sea fish
when I have only caught fresh fish before.

I cannot catch small, nimble fish
when I have caught larger fish before.

I cannot learn to catch sea fish
until I have caught a sea fish.

I don’t know why the fish won’t bite.
The fish are silent and, due
to the volume of fishers,
are unable to provide feedback as to
why they won’t bite.
However, they thank you for the time
you have taken to fish for them.

Some fish do not even
acknowledge the fishing.

My parents ring, suggest
I go back to fishing where I used to fish.
I remind them why I came down to the sea.

I remember the puffer-fish I held
as a child, my head
crowding my brother’s head
the weight of that first fish,
the hushed thrill.
I know that sensation is still there.

They suggest I chuck in
some dynamite, that’s how
they found fish in their day.

I point out there are restrictions on fishing
nowadays, and the phone line feels
tight and biting.

My friends tell me about
fish they think I should catch,
including fish I already caught
and just didn’t tell anyone about
and now it’s as though I never
caught them at all
because there was no camera
to capture it.

I read about other fishers
blaming the EU for the fishing restrictions,
or the fishers who have come
from other places, even though this
is not why the fish won’t bite.

But I know why people
get scared of the fish shortage.
I know why they blame the wrong people.

Some parts of the coast now
only allow disadvantaged fishers to fish,
with mentors who help them to fish.
And I start to wish I
were allowed to fish there,
and I know I am wrong, that fishers
like me had the whole coast
to themselves for so long

but the fishing
is making me bitter.

I don’t even want to fish anymore.

Getting up to fish
with all the equipment,
the tackle, the fistful
of wet worms,
the spike through the middle,
the rain,
is too hard.

I know I could just go back to the river.
I know I chose to come down to the sea.

I thread the rod;
I pitch out a line.

February 23, 2017
alexandra-melville-480

Fishing by Alexandra Melville

Poetry by Alexandra Melville
February 13, 2017
toby-littkatie-cooke

The Meme

Short Fiction by Toby Litt
February 6, 2017
klein-s-afters

Afters by Stella Klein

Short Fiction by Stella Klein
February 4, 2017
k-j-orr-lottie-davies

K J Orr To Headline Women’s Day Event

Our next MIRLive takes place on March 6th at the Harrison, 28 Harrison Street, King’s Cross, WC1H 8JF. This event will be headlined by BBC Short Story Award Winner, K J Orr, and will be an International Women’s Day Special. We will be accepting submissions from all genders but work should be […]
January 23, 2017
MIRlive 480

Leila Segal Headlines MIRLive

Leila Segal reads from her debut collection, Breathe. MIRLive’s Alison Hitchock shares work from her letter writing project, From Me To You. Leila and Alison are joined by five more wonderful women reading poetry and short stories.
January 16, 2017
hutchinson-m-a-long-way-through

A Long Way Through by Matt Hutchinson

Short Fiction by Matt Hutchinson
January 13, 2017
leila-segal-480

Luca’s Trip to Havana by Leila Segal

Leila Segal shares a story from her debut collection; Breathe: Stories from Cuba (flipped eye, 2016). Leila also talks to Melanie Jones about her writing, Cuba, and small publishers in this interview. You can buy a copy of Breathe here. Leila will be reading at MIRLive on January 30th and copies of Breathe […]
January 12, 2017
january-reads-480

January Reads

The MIROnline team have chosen the books they are enjoying this month.
January 11, 2017
womersley-m-creative-writing

Creative Writing by Maggie Womersley

Short fiction by Maggie Womersley. This story was originally published in The Mechanics’ Institute Review: Issue 10. The Mechanics’ Institute Review is an annual collection of fiction now open for submissions to all UK authors. While submissions are open, we will be posting some of favourite work from past collections. Creative Writing was selected by […]
January 9, 2017
mikalcius-v-poetry

Poetry by Vida Mikalcius

Vida Mikalcius
December 22, 2016
passarelli-c-holding-on-to-nothing

Holding On To Nothing by Cassandra Passarelli

Short Fiction by Cassandra Passarelli
December 19, 2016
wilson-m-chart-poems

Chart Poems by Margot Wilson

Margot Wilson’s visual poetry
December 11, 2016
leila-segal

Leila Segal to Headline MIRLive

Our next MIRLive takes place on January 30th at the Harrison, 28 Harrison Street, King’s Cross, WC1H 8JF. This event will be headlined by Leila Segal. The deadline for Submissions is January 15th.
December 11, 2016
Kit 480

Julia Bell interviews Kit De Waal

“Value your experience, value your voice, value where you come from. So that you can look at your work and say this is good, this is important.” – Kit De Waal discusses setting up the Birkbeck scholarship and the importance of inclusivity in writing and publishing.
December 10, 2016
december-reads-480

Books for your Christmas List

The MIROnline team have chosen the books they are most enjoying this month, just in time to for you to add them to your Christmas List.
December 9, 2016
gilli-fryzer-featured

MIRLive: An Evening of Festive Fun

Alison Hitchcock rounds up our MIRLive Christmas Special
December 8, 2016
cottrell-e-digging-with-this-dog

Short Fiction by Ed Cottrell

Short Fiction by Ed Cottrell
December 1, 2016
mir-call-for-subs2-480

MIR14 Call For Submissions

November 21, 2016
striech-s-the-air-con-queen

The Air Con Queen by Shanna Streich

Short Fiction by Shanna Streich
November 2, 2016
Stephen Morrison-Burke with Kit de Waal and MA Creative Writing director Julia Bell 480

Stephen Morrison-Burke Feature

Stephen Morrison-Burke shares High Dust and Donkeys, an extract from his novel in progress. He also talks to Alison Hitchock about winning the Kit De Waal Scholarship and his plans for the future