The Boat of a Life

7 May 2017

The old man sat with his back
to the sea.  He sat
far enough away
so that he could not hear it
roar, hiss, even sigh
so fearful was he of
what it was capable.

Beautiful?  Like death
is its beauty, the very
song of it, death.
Too much a grave, the sea,
too many spirits pulling
on the living to its depths.

The old man was old
because he had survived
the sea.  And even when it rose,
only in conversation, the old
man changed the topic,
to anything other than.

Why, was a mystery.
He had not ever nearly drowned
He had not lost anyone
to the sea’s will.
The sea had not taken
his livelihood from him.
He hadn’t ever been a fisherman.

At birth, his bones must have had
knit into them
fear of the sea, a fear,
part of his rationality.
He knew to keep away
from that which would be
his ruin; a thing not learned,
but a thing known within.

He felt the resentment
of the sea on his back,
felt the eye of the sea
burn him, to the bone.
For he sat, the embodied proof
of something the sea could
never possess, and in the possessing
destroy, for the pleasure of destroying.

Philip Kuepper
(5 March 2017)

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