Soul's Crossing

For Gordon and Carol

I don't know how long
I've been afloat,
I just know that I'm far from home,
facing backwards, lining up
the landmarks I have already passed,
as the sea lifts and drops
and frantic gulls wheel overhead.

Tired, I want to set the oars amidships
and drift for a few moments
watching the waves gnaw
against the bluffs,
but I don't dare,
for the swells and stones
would splinter this dory
as if we were falling 
inside that burning building
I saw so many times on television.

I do not rest
but I dip the oars,
bending into them,
and again.
"There is a kind land"
I tell myself,
"just beyond the next headland
or surely the one after that."

John Straley
September 2005