My bed at home rises and falls as
if I still lay in the arms of the sea.
That great breathing lifts me before
the sigh of waves settles me into sleep.
Eyes closed, it’s morning in my bunk, blue
square of sky sailing over the open hatch.
“Another morning in paradise,” my sailor
says, before bittersweet morning coffee kiss.
My hands remember the grip on lines,
drawing in the jib, raising the halyard.
My raised hand feels for wind’s direction,
my finger firm on chart as I hold the tiller.
All the while the vessel held us, hull of cedar
over oak. The prow carved an opening as we
moved through the sea, like two hands cupped,
finger tips touching, making an offering, a prayer.
Af t e r Sa i l i ng i n t he Arms o f t he Sea
53
After we leave Butter Island, the seas
get rougher, crashing across the bow.
He puts on his safety line while he
hauls in and ties down the jib. I hold
onto the tiller, steering into the wind
just as he tells me to. His daughter
and I wedge our feet across the cockpit,
the waves rock and tug us, the wind
whips wet across our faces. He joins
us and takes the tiller. The three of us
lean back against the wind. His child
looks down at our legs, two pairs in
yellow coveralls and hooded slickers,
me in my kayaking gear, purple and gray.
Above the pulling roar of the wind, she
tells me, “You have to get yellow gear
too, so you can be just like us, doesn’t
she, Dad?” I lean into her; she puts her
arms around me and holds me tight. I
want her to feel secure as the boat pitches,
and rolls, heading for safe mooring, for
her body to remember how long ago she
was held by her mother, when all three
of them wore yellow gear.
Fou l Wea t he r Gea r
52
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