Bobbing atop the prow of our slender boat,
I spy the shadow of a dark green island,
Ill-defined smudge in the misty rain, the sky
Opaque and filmy, snakeskin freshly shed.
Slicing forward, our front beak is whipped
By waves both sides, spray flying about, rude little explosions.
Drenched fireman, shirt glued to my skin, wet bird,
Shivering, I lick my lips, tasting salt.
My flip-flops float in a shallow pool at the bottom.
One of my companions bails out water. Serene,
He must be an angel because he smiles at sharks.
They patrol these waters, grinning at travelers like us,
Fretful, riding wooden planks rattling to a rickety motor.
Beneath us dark green water rushes, shadowy leviathan.
One with the sea, the wind whips up a tempest,
Brows of storm clouds glower, gray veils of rain.
Swiftly landfall approaches, half-moon beach beckoning,
Welcome pie. Solidly, our bow hits the shore,
Bulldozer grinding into raspy grit…leaping off,
I dig my toes into the sand, an ardent missionary.
Originally published in The Sunday Times Magazine, Volume 117, Number 1 (August 7, 2016), page B2
|Washington Island, Republic of Kiribati|