Rowing Epiphanies

16 February 2020

By Philip Kuepper

I.

Shed of shell,
shed of oar,
the desire to be
a fish coursed
through the rower.
He imagined his shoulder blades
fins.

II.

How to be one
with the water
was the thought
in her mind when waking.
Waking.  How suggestive
of being waterborne
at each day’s beginning.
Waking.  Water.  Woman.
Womb.  Each time she set out,
rowing was a giving birth.

III.

‘No,’ she thought,
the day would be hers.
She showered, threw on
loose clothes.  She strode
to ocean’s shore.  She would
row later.  For now,
she would read the waves,
read the hieroglyphics
of them, watch their dissolve
into Sanskrit, into Aramaic.
She would read the evolution
of writing in the waves,
of speech in the waves.
She would row later,
in her own language.

IV.

Tired of being ‘”the jock,”
he threw off his muscles,
threw off the elasticity
of his limbs, and embraced
rest, rest
from competition, from the obsession
of winning/losing,
from the need of being seen
the preeminent athlete.
Later, he dove
into the river,
his arms become oars
he rowed his body-shell with.

(16 January 2020)

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