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Survival Balance

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
6/30/05

 

Hampshire County Arts Council, P.O. Box 624, Romney, WV 26757 www.hampshirearts.org    webmaster e-mail address

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