Making Way

Narragansett Bay —1960, first time out

We part from the dock
slow as disengaging lovers
one landlocked, the other a
floater who won’t be
kept at bay

The diminishing pier slides back
its bollards and planks deploy
to some other place not here
—to a distancing otherworld

The tether breaks
as stern-first we pass the
channel buoy

     Quarter back, the OD says.
     Quarter back, aye sir,
and we slip away

    Steer two one zero, half ahead.
Two one zero, half ahead, aye sir

and we slow-slide down
the gleaming bay

The sun’s so keen it indicates
a tern on the roof of a big estate
a half mile away
atop its long lawn hill
off the starboard bow
which slopes down clear
through the wind-wove air
to a point where jades meet blues
………………… —which passes now
as we part the sea while
making way

Further south the sea’s first chops
begin to unsettle our sheltered
adolescent cruise

Near the harbor mouth all decks
rise then make their first
supplicating bows to whatever
god it is who intervenes
to call-off wrecks
…… —we’re juggled gently first in
Neptune’s law as
pitches rolls & heaves
meet yaws

Gray billows diesel from our raked stacks
Halyards snap against the mast’s steel
Gulls abundantly rise & reel
over the white chaos of our wake’s track

Sunlight splinters
into rippled trillions
upon each breaker’s
sequined breast
before it folds
in a white rush falling
to the soul percussion
of  a bow-wave’s

…………. shush

by Jim Culleny;
November, 2009

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