and it’s twilight, the brilliant day
having begun its fade to indigo.
The water is passive, expectant, more lake
than sea. Suppose there’s a small boat
a few feet offshore, and it slides onto the sand.
You approach, and place your hands
on its weathered prow, wood thickened
with layers of paint, dark green and white.
The vessel is empty—no oars or engine.
If you hoist yourself into the hull (wide
enough your arms just reach one side to the other)
a wave might lift and draw you into the water.
And what if by now there’s a canopy
of stars; if the tide, sky, and sinuous line
of hills in the distance (they feel like
comfort) are all shades of the same deep
violet? Thin clouds focus the moonlight
into five silvery beams, yet the stars are bright
enough to be doubled in the generous sea.
Say the boat rocks a little, drifting, then
realigns and starts to follow the shore.
And if it’s moving backward, flat stern first?
You’d want to turn, wouldn’t you, to see
what’s ahead, behind you. But suppose
you didn’t. If instead, you lay back and took in
the stars, the sea’s sweet breeze on your skin.
Could you do this? Is it enough to know
you are in the boat?
Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 15, Issue 3.
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