Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Reeling Them In

My oldest daughter,
nine years old,
is quietly running a race
with forty or fifty other kids.
She is mid-pack at mid-race
and then in a loping,
almost bouncing gait,
reels in one, two, three and more
of the other children.

Near the finish,
two boys ahead of her 
give up and fall to walking,
hands on hips, panting.
She lopes past them,
and though I am fifty yards away
across the field, she is my girl,
and so I hear her wondering,
why are they stopping?
she doesn’t know what else to do
but run and run.

I can hear her at the finish,
only two people ahead of her,
failing to care about winning,
not noticing what she has done,
happy for other reasons
I can no longer remember or fathom.

Across the field I sit watching,
having whispered to her,
throughout the whole race
you do it, you go, honey.
keep reeling them in,
there is nothing that can touch you.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Rocket Fish

In the boat at dusk, alone. I lean out over the wooden side. Over the oarlock. I look down into grey-green water through which I can somehow see into the depths. The lake is calm, silent. When I lean out over the boat it doesn’t move. The water is undisturbed. Looking down I am horrified to see a giant fish swimming up at me. It lights the water. It’s mouth is a perfect circle. It swims upward in a straight line without moving its tail. This is a rocket blasting off from some underwater Cape Canaveral. My face is directly in its path. I am a target. It comes for me. I jump back and fall against the other side of the boat, my shoulders and head out over the edge. The boat is about to tip. I know that this is disaster. I cannot go into that water. The fish. The fish. Through my fish-eyes I see stars. Dusk has given way to darker night. I pray. I pray to the fish. The fish. My heart thunders. The boat rocks hard. My feet find purchase under the edge of the boat. I hold on. I hope. And the boat settles down. Splashes hard into the water. Without disturbing the still lake. I lie back against the side of the boat. Wondering. The fish. I’m afraid to look down. I look up, but there is only darkness.