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drifting in pictures

drifting in pictures

there I stand brave and tall
chest flooded with pride
holding the backend of a raft
Bobby Lange, I recall holding the otherside
on this buttered toast of beach for the public
in his poor man’s heaven, my Dad called it

He would finally arrive
with candied treats melted and warped
from his two-hour drive – late fridays
we heard him come before he did
— but I have told this story
too many times for me before

now this one on the last blanket
that last summer day I didn’t know
would hold no more, not with my Father beside
on the same day we built that raft to get out to the rock
playing dive-bomber one-hunded yards from the shore

the runt of the pack, I was the first u-boat
preparing to be attacked –
jump from one end and traverse underwater
the twenty-four foot long edge to survive
children’s depth-charger feet, unknowing
that by next summer someone would die,
not I

three years later a visitor in the bungalow
He built what was our lifetime ago
– once me in a big old tin bucket
having my first swim at two (and a half)
while my Father sawed and hammered and smiled

now that heaven not ours but a cousin’s
two fast weeks for me, not a lifetime in three months
the raft is found smashed flat against the fifty foot sand cliff
we would slide or tumble in a ball to get down
a dead-grey driftwooded dry raft, I now eleven and a half

lift it up to bring to the ebbing tide

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