Today's poem is by Michael Hettich

The Rowboat

A rowboat, she tells me, out of sight of land
drifts in calm water. There is only one oar
and there are no humans. But there is a dog
sitting on the floor there, in the briny water.
Is there food of any kind? No. Today I thought of you
swimming to that rowboat, she tells me, from somewhere
I can't imagine. You pulled yourself aboard,
fell asleep, and dreamed. Your legs were pink and swollen.
The dog licked your body all over until you woke.
And then another human swam up to the rowboat,
she says. No one spoke. And then another dog,
followed by another human. Soon the boat would be too full.
We're starving, she called out in a voice not her own
and I wondered how I came to marry this woman,
how we'd chanced to come together, to fall into each other
and raise such beautiful children. They were gone now
into their own lives. The ocean was too calm,
so I dove in and started off; it didn't matter which direction,
and the dogs leaped behind me and the humans leaped behind the dogs,
until the boat was empty, like a rib cage in the dark.

Copyright © 2013 Michael Hettich All rights reserved
from The Animals Beyond Us
New Rivers Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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