The Hands of Rowers

5 December 2021

By Philip Kuepper

The waves are hands
waving their way
to shore. Are they hands, lost,
of all ships sunk?
Are they the hands
from war-rammed triremes,
from ships of explorers,
from the Titanic,
the Lusitania,
the Morro Castle?

Are they the waves waving
at me, the waves waving
toward shore,
as I sit, abench, in the glittering
November morn, glitter gowning the sea,
unxious, anxious,
moon-drawn in the sun?

Is it that I am
to wave back to them?,
or stand next the shoreline
and take their hands,
and help them ashore,
help the hands of the drowned ashore?

Each hand curling round an oar
helps row the drowned forward,
the ghosts of their lives,
the very breaths of their ghosts
knit into the hands of the rowers.

(9 November 2021)

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