I’ve glided between waves of my life like an obsessed captain

at sea who refuses to return to land.

Even when I could see myself like a sunset on the horizon,

I could never quite reach myself in time to make me happen.

The search for self was as slippery to me as the sea serpent

signifying it, and to be fair, it still is. Chris, I can see your mouth moving,

but I can’t understand you. How about some coffee?

The usual Ed. Thanks so much.

Any who, do you remember when my babysitter rode past us

on my bike while we were lying down

in the nearby field behind Tom Collins General Store,

the same sea of grass I’d run through many times while trying

to escape somebody’s vengeful sperm whale of an older brother,

the very same I used to chase black racers in, their upright onyx

bodies disappearing into veins of dirt I couldn’t find my way into

to save my life, and how something ancient and primal in me hunkered

down behind the bittersweet and began thinking across

the surface of the bottomless earth, nose to tail, to your emotions?

Well, I’m pretty sure this is because the sea in me knew

if I asked you matter of factly to disappear with me into a valley

of gold and silence, I’d not only be shut down by your parents,

but I wouldn’t be able to double back to that ship of mutual

feeling I’d need to keep me afloat when and if it came time

to survive the shipwreck of me.

Author: Chris Russell

Chris Russell holds an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and lives in Concord, New Hampshire where he follows two paths: a calling as a poet, and an altruistic vocation as an education support professional.

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