Shore Line

We speak of mankind.
Why not wavekind?

Barrel-chested military water
rushes in a mass
to break the shore earth
into stonekind.

Pphlooph pphlooph
the waves grope
indistinctly for the shore.

As delicate
as a butterfly
along a cheek
a boat with white
and orange sail appears.
A small boy in a life-belt
sits in front and looks ahead
with all his might.
His father steers,
attached like a shaft
to his son's safety
and the sail's management.

A sunfish thrown back by a fisherman
lies drowned and pitching.
The eyes are white in death.

This is the raw data.
A mystery translates it
into feeling and perception;
then imagination;
finally the hard
inevitable quartz
figure of will
and language.
Thus a squirrel tail flying
from a handlebar
unmistakably establishes
its passing rider
as a male unbowed
in a chipper plume.

by Carl Rakosi

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