Parable with Barbed Hook

Henry Kearney, IV

Blood where it should not be is sometimes all
we know of God, how he walks bent among us 

carrying his knives hidden, but only half so.
Once on a muddy river a boy pulled catfish into the boat 

two at a time.  His father, de-hooking and baiting,
cut his thumb on an unforgiving fin as, 

bleeding and laughing and cussing, he took a knife
to the fat beasts’ white throats.  

What we hold up to the sunlight is not always
what is meant to be discovered, 

but can’t always be thrown back.
There is a limit to what love is.  

In removing a hook from the mouth
of any swimming thing, you must decide 

which of you will next eat, if the simple jaw
in your hands is worth the trouble of not breaking.  

There is no limit to what love is.