Bitter End

Bitter End
June 30. 2013
Michael Gollin

The Bitter End is a sweet place to be,
safely moored past the sound –-
Fly to full moon beach party,
ferry to sloop for sleep,
sail to Gorda,
then dinghy to shore
walk up the beach
and sway in a hammock.

Rested, cross the channel to Saba Rock,
island harbored in an island,
tropical space capsule,
circumnavigate barefoot in 10 minutes
if you take your time,
past 1950s Seahorse outboard motors,
cannon and anchor from the wreck of the Rhone
sharing a concrete pool with Moray eels and sea cucumbers,
tarpon gathering to the light at the wharf.

Painkiller in hand, step up to Bermuda grass lawn,
sporting a new deck built since my last time here.
Recline and look Northeast at the wind blowing waves from Spain.
We sailed out there today.
Our big boat was infinitesimal at sea.
Closer hangs my hammock, now empty,
across the water at the Bitter End Yacht Club.

A sailor’s dream.
If this isn’t paradise, well, I can see it from here.

Nothing between my head and infinity,
I lay on deck with my daughter looking up at the stars,
through shrouds and stays, spars, and massive mast
pointing straight up at the Zenith.
My sky app shows where the constellations are,
even if we can’t see them, even beneath the sea.
It knows where we are in time and space. I do too.

The best aquarium in the world is down below.
Just look.
Snorkel above or scuba within.
Garden eels play peekaboo, spotted drum with stripes,
clumsy shaped filefish,
giant hawksbill turtle rises for a breath,
but we don’t have to.
Bluebell tunicates predate vertebrates
black coral looks green to me,
waving with the countless fans.
Swim hard against the current,
and stay low.

I haul myself through the Baths,
natural amusing park.
Commerce can’t top it.
Boulders, tunnels, and pools,
Angly stairs, ramps, and ropes
Sun and shade. sand and rock,
trails past beach gooseberry and grape trees.

The rain chases me off my lounge chair,
into the ocean, not to shelter,
Surprise — I get wet.
Spoiler alert – I get dry.
I swim toward Dead Chest from Deadman cove, alive,
then shower, drip dry in the light rain.
Steady state damp.

Pelican dive bombs the surf and beaks a fish,
seagull swoops onto his back, a thief.
Pelican pecks and gulps, relieved.
But it looks bad for fish and gull.
On Beef Island beach, cute kitty begs scraps, then vicious,
claws down a gull, and torture plays it to death.
Gulls live on the edge.

We each came for different reasons,
Parents, children, and friends,
And the same – we all want to be here,
afloat among islands at sea,
adventure and challenge for fun
together in real not virtual space.

Crickets chirp, birds sing, rooster crows,
moonrise over the island hill,
behind a black cloud,
shines a silver lining,
no gold, no blue sky tonight,
rain with no rainbow.
motor running without sail,
electronic pings.
Gulls cry from the cleated dinghy,
dropping white spots that wash away
like memories.


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