An awkward, fluttering seabird,
I ride the prow of your canoe,
My foolish yellow-scaled feet dance along the rim in my eagerness for more...
Impatient to see beyond the horizon
I shoot straight up.
Flapping my wings feverishly
And catch a glimpse of what is beyond.
Enthralled by the vision, my heart swells,
My mind expands,
My wings still,
And I forget I am suspended in the air.
I plummet, shrieking.
As I tumble through the thick tropical air.
Loosened feathers float slowly downward behind me,
Tracing the ephemeral path of my descent.
Sick with vertigo and fear,
I shudder in anticipation of my collision with the unforgiving frame of the boat.
For a brief eternity I regret my foolish flight.
Then, astonished, I feel your gentle hands enclose me, breaking my fall.
Amused at my dishevelment, you replace me on the rim of your canoe.
The steady rhythm of your rowing lulls me, calms me,
Assuring me that our destination is within reach.
Our goal worthy.
Your strength endless.
Exhausted by my adventure I doze,
Slipping into a sweet dream of safety.
I relax into a dance with the rhythm of the boat.
I wobble on my perch.
Soon I overbalance and tumble from the edge.
The numbing waves claim me
Engulfing my feathers,
Paralyzing my wings.
I struggle against the heavy water, my lungs bursting
As I am sucked down to die.
Never breaking the rhythm of your stroke
Your long arm reaches out,
Scooping me from the wet grave.
Tenderly you deposit me on the dry floor of our vessel.
There I gasp out my terror
Until the sun melts away any possibility of separation.
Your rhythmic rowing soothes me,
Singing to me with the music of the waves that all is well with our journey.
Our craft glides into the twilight.
The air chills
And I take refuge in your warmth.
Huddled on your shoulder,
Pressed into the hollow of your neck,
Sleep claims me as you row us through the night.
Copyright 2006, Dana Clark