Frederick’s as careless of his body
as if he were one of the fish
he catches in the Hampton Bays.
He’s fractured his bones a dozen times;
each mending has left him
more fragile than before.

He fell off his truck last spring
and broke his right arm in three places.
After two operations, it’s still not right.
The beard he’s grown can’t hide
the look of pain in his eyes,
the fear that he can’t keep up.
How can a loner like him
do anything else?

“I have the best of both worlds—
half the time at sea
away from it all,
the other half selling my catch
at markets like this.
It’s a life of adventure
and freedom.”

He winces, his hand
bent like a claw
scooping up a piece of fish
to weigh it for a customer.