On the Point

On the Point
God's Country and a Waterman's Backyard

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A Potomac Life

For Capt. Reese

by SAM

Land life wears you down.
The River washes you clean.

Your mother a teacher,
father a farmer,
sister a nurse,
brother, but a boy.
You, an entertainer.
At four you ruled the cornfields,
until you fell in love with the snap of stalks
from running a hoe horizontal down a row,
the crack of premonition, headlong and headstrong.
Your quick denials, as muddy
as your bare foot prints over yesterday’s rain.
Your pop picked you up like a sack of flour,
fit tiny feet exactly into an earthen puzzle.
The whippin’ was for the lyin’
and the lyin’ was to cover the fun.

You ran with lightening bugs,
swam in elwives and sea nettles,
dug bushels of Irish potatoes,
before you were five.
Carried water and later hay.
Learned to slaughter those you fed.

You found the water
long before the land could no longer carry you,
before the waves in the fields
came back empty.
Land life wears you down.
The River laps at your soul
and washes you clean.

When pigs and cows sunk their hooves,
Meat was the strength of muscles for work.
But fish was freedom, caught--
On the verge of adventure-
Cumberland to the Atlantic
Not much catch and release back then.
Bones, skin and all went on the table
And a blessing for the Irish luck of the boat.

God is doing the fishing now
And you are blessed to be caught.
Land life wears you down.
You said, “One night on the Potomac
Is worth a thousand in the city.”
This river knows your name.
The River watches, washes us clean,
our insides pretty, and not the same.

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