To Care

15 May 2022

By Philip Kuepper

He brought his boat
out of the water,
dragged it to a place
above the tideline,
turned it face down,
and paused to make certain
his boat was safe.
He had sniffed the air.
He had read the sky.
He could sense the movement
of the rain south of where he stood.
Clouds were clearly
visible now. There is a clarity
about clouds. They are clouds
on purpose. They are to be seen
devoid of nonsense. They are
serious. Dismiss them,
and peril is yours.
He pulled his boat
further above the tideline,
over a low hump of sand,
and into a depression
that lay like a shallow bed.
But, then, he thought,
‘Would it flood?’
Reeds rose round.
‘Would they play the wind?’
Or would the wind flatten them?
And, if so, cover his boat
with protection, or not?
He could not be certain.
The sea was building,
then collapsing,
building, collapsing,
‘Like liquid girders,’ he thought,
girders that would,
eventually, take hold.
Take hold his boat?
He was till a cub
where it concerned the sea.
This was his first boat
he’d save for, and bought.
This was his,
and extension of the young
man he was;
his prize, his possession.
And he knew the greed of the sea,
the sea that could never get enough.
He thought to fetch a tarp.
He would cover his boat,
like a father his sleeping son.
But he felt, finally,
his boat lay safe.
And he dreamed it
into the following day,
after the sea had written passage on the land,
where he would lay it,
anew, on the ancient water.

(19 April 2022)

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