By Jody MacPherson, April 2004, unpublished

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A flotilla of motorless watercraft

In the lead, son

Outpaces us easily with furious

Teenage stroke

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

Against us.

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.

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