Drying Off Again
Later you told how your eyes lifted, and you raised your paddle Motionless as you caught a flash of lightning from my smile You saw my shoulders, you said, but blinded--perhaps by the light from The steel straps, bolts binding me fast to that unwieldy raft You didn't see. Or you certainly (Your thin smile slices through me) Would never have invited me to your side of that river
You said it was only my laughter you invited, singing out To come light in your canoe. But I, awkward, eager Loaded down, lurched lugging everything Splashing cross currents toward your lovely song my lonely ear led me
Only to hear your wail as you, frantic, tried to balance yourself in my wake
Embarrassed, I tried to stop, but once the barge is in motion It is difficult to restrain. You paled as I -- red-faced -- washed nearer Listen, I didn't know you didn't know I was attached so tightly to this barge Slow, lumbery, full, sunk low. A cluttered chaos of costumes, game tables plants, pets, kids, eccentric friends, books, bad habits Demanding, loud, rough, bawdy, rude
My raft rumbles up rivers sending fish streaking Birds on shore scream and scatter. Riot How could you have, not seen, not heard?
You must forgive my stirring up your calm Clear clean course. I swamped your quiet, neat Sweet swift canoe and nearly drowned us both Laughing so I couldn't swim -- couldn't cry Muddied up your stream and nearly beached my barge Your waterway seems suited for bark boats only Lighter pods that sit lightly, skim brightly on the surface
Now, resting, rocking, back in deep channels I steer Charting my course by the needs of my craft and cargo, not drifting In charge of the course as it rises before me Now I warn you and all those with me: Except as they warn of current, of snag Reflections and echoes must be ignored. Light, laughter, songs All are signs of danger, of sirens, unsafe, even on the shore