I’m neither ocean-going nor landlocked, but set me on a lake,
an inlet of gulf or bay, I’m not so easily swamped.
If my canoe tips, what rights it?
On a childhood lake I paddled up the moon’s path
to the berry-covered island and swam back,
the canoe drifting after me, a thing I’d tamed,
I’ve perched on fogbound rocks listening
to unseen bell-buoys roiled by breakers,
hundreds of spiders threading glass among the pines.
I’ve known sailors, not many but brave.
Roly, bringing book and sandwiches, winding through islands
on his chart, planning to moor the night,
Jean who in her high 80’s took the helm
of Easy Go and brought her safe to harbor.
Sometimes from the outer beach I see seals tumbling
inside greenbottle waves—they are their own vessels.