I am 12 years old
It is 9pm
And we are paddling our canoe.
Just coming out of the mangrove channel,
I look out towards the still and dark ocean.
Only the waves crashing on the reef can be heard.

We paddled into the deep part in reef
And my uncle jokes saying,
“mokokau el meius le ika ngikel a kot lungil a oderngesel”.

We stopped in front of the small island of Ngerutoi
And started putting on our gear.

When I first dove in,
All the corals reflected beautiful colors
In the beam of the flashlight.
I dove down about 20 ft.
And to my amazement
A 3 ft. long giant sweet lips
Lay still just sleeping.

I loaded my spear gun
Swam as quietly as I could toward the fish

Because it was New Moon,
The fishes were all asleep
So I crept up on him
And shot him in the head killing him instantly

We continued moving along the side of the big channel
And shortly after,
My uncle signaled for me to come up on the canoe.

When I climbed on board,
I finally realized that the whole canoe
Was filled halfway with huge parrotfish,
Unicorn fish,
Triggerfish, and other families of snappers.

It’s 2017, all the corals are crushed
Or bleached
And the fishes are way fewer than before.

I would paddle out the same channel with my brother
And to our disappointment,
Garbage litters the whole ocean.
We dive in
And fish for the whole night
Till sunrise
And we could only catch six red and white snappers.

What the hell happened to my home.

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