Waves like night whales raise the stern,
wind shreds the sail-edge, the boat crests.
We lean to port and rush down a swell.
My legs are splayed, knees bent, riding
the deck. I grip the tiller, feel only the fall
and rise, my skin popping with light,
my spirit pumped to its most animal.
We dodge squalls, run straight into a gale.
Only the greater shearwater remains in flight
disappearing behind 15 foot waves, darting,
pivoting on wing tip as though laughing at tumult.
2 weeks at sea – the adrenaline I eat
begins to consume me. My body seeks
ways to endure what I enjoy, concentrates
on sitting below without nausea, walking
the cabin sole and not falling, tasting food,
a normal bowel movement, sleep.
I brace myself, open my journal, and write
of lemon juice curling into a glass of water.
The storm subsides. We air out the cabins,
dry our bedding, wash clothes, repair
a broken shackle. I lie on the deck
watching cloud creatures open their jaws,
attacking in slow movements.
The sun sets, the barometer falls.
Michael F. Hughes