By Jody MacPherson, April 2004, unpublished
A flotilla of motorless watercraft
In the lead, son
Outpaces us easily with furious
Jib tight to his transitional body
Legs curled inside the hull, yoga-like.
Foamy swells split in half
Pierced and separated by our bow
We sew a watery quilt across the choppy surface
Water sloshes around our feet, growing colder
We paddle in parental unison,
Lumbering double kayak struggles
Tethered to the back, daughter
Smooth, bronzed legs stretched
Across inflatable inner tube
Rides her floating chariot with ease, smiles
Content to follow our lead.
One foot hangs over the edge, though
Testing the water.
And far away, out on the lake
A tornado of paddle and well-muscled arms
Oblivious to the distance between us
Our son is a tiny amphibious blur, alone
Floating above a mountain of water
Life vest a fluorescent flag
All that holds us together.
My eyes sting from salty tears and wind
A frantic signal across the chasm, another
And yet another, until finally he takes our cue
Within minutes, eases the smaller boat alongside ours
Eyes dancing, grin as wide as the lake itself
“Wow, that was fantastic!” he sings.
His face that of a man.
Shaken, we continue
Because there is no turning back.