a moment

Late in the day,
before taking the boat out of the water over at the marina,
holding tight onto the padded handle at the end of the ski rope,
trying to keep my ski in front of me and me upright behind it
as the boat eased forward keeping the rope taut
on this third attempt to get up.

Rehearsing the advice I don’t need enough to have ingrained:
lean forward—shoulders forward,
keep the tip of the ski out of the water as much as possible,
but keep enough weight on the back end of the ski to keep it down,
stay crouched over—don’t try to stand up too soon,
keep arms fully extended—don’t pull the rope in.

Already, on my two previous tries,
pulled away from our dock—pulled out of our sheltered cove,
now, on this third go, pulled up out of water’s grasp—
up into the setting sun
and a grin of excitement and joy incarnate
skimmed the very surface of the water—

assimilating it all:
the effort, the failed attempts, the pride of eventual success,
the friends in the boat—
their chatter and laughter,
the throb of the engine ahead,
the orange of the horizon,
the heat and light of the sun, and the wind,
the sense of speed—
of balance—
of how but the shifting of weight
would arc a turn into possibility
marked by a more impressive sheet of spray
in my mind than behind my ski,
and the fire stoked and building
in arms and legs

until the effort transcends the joy,
and back in our cove
I let go of what I wished the moment could remain
or even become,
and arms raised high
sank back down into the water.

A moment come and gone and forever.


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