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Pays de L’eau #2 by James Morehead

July 3, 2011

Pays de L’eau #2

by James Morehead

if you capsize
wave
          breathe
                        wait
hold the gunwale
we practice rescues
canoes surround us
                                 dripping
pulling us out chilled

dad and i watch
sitting soaked and rescued by the dock
as two mighty rescuers tumble over
joining their waterlogged victims
we laugh at the bare bottomed canoes
and splashing cursing bobbing heads
i notice john
                     eyes rolling
laugh and hum

   -----

night falls slowly
a deep summer evening
hours before departure
i wander alone to watch the canoes
silently slumbering on bunk bed racks
their wooden backs rigid
confident
i run my fingers gently along them
their grained skin smooth
i trust them

   -----

 we didn't expect
                            in darkness
a pre dawn waking clanging bell
we fumble through dew soaked blackness
with tightly bound water proofed packages
ground sheet wrapped blankets
surrounding fresh clothes
we lift the canoes from their beds
grumbling
sliding them from sand to water
crisp water waking me with chills
through my feet legs spine
                                           a quick shiver
sunrise

john and marty
awake waiting
                         watching us sweat
tightly packed wannigans of food first aid frying pans matches
dig into our shoulders
                                   strapped by temp lines to our foreheads
mine feels like it's loaded with lead
perhaps we don't need it
i decide not to ask

   -----
we glide across a lake
somewhere in ontario where the c.n. tower
can't be seen
my wooden paddle becomes part of me
my hands arms joined with wood
pulling forward
endlessly repeating
i close my eyes without fear of traffic
or collision

Next in Pays de L’eau…

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