Wake

When I look out over the empty lake at dusk,
and see the overturned sailboats lining the shore,
and the day feels full and tired,
I like to imagine a girl alone on her boat
ripping along the waves in a healthy breeze,
surfing the edges of gusts.
The boat too small for a companion,
she invents her own play,
tipping it over and over again
on her shining, wet gridiron,
where all of the world meets her.

Upon reaching the center of the lake,
she allows her boat to keel a bit,
slowing as it does.
She lets the wind push it further,
up and again, with more and more daring,
teasing, rocking, hiking out,
taking her time —
until finally the boat rolls
onto its side, silent and
subdued.
The sail dips into the water.
The girl slips, just so,
onto the centerboard,
balancing
and pausing there,
preparing her final move.

She rocks the boat,
measured,
with gentle springing in her knees,
and then a bit deeper,
until the moment comes:
she presses down hard and bounds
over the side of the boat,
and onto the deck —
as the sail flings up
over her head
and catches the breeze —
magic.

Her clothes are dry,
the sail is dripping,
flapping and feeling sour:
a victory to savor.
She builds speed again,
playing the surf,
leaving no trail,
but a slender wake
that slowly fades.

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