The Innisfree Poetry Journal

by Jonathan Bracker

How One Old Man May Look Toward Death

It is not so much like when in his teens a boy goes
With his father in a rented boat and looks up,

As the bamboo pole is raised, at Daddy’s

suddenly appearing broad smile 

Now that something energetic has started tugging.

It is more like, several years earlier, in a different rented boat
Mother has come along for the ride and to help. Leaning

Over the side, the boy rests the back of one hand atop calm water,

Spreading out his fingers to trail them in the wake.

Soon the boat is near enough for him to reach a waterlily’s long strong stem.

Idly he pulls close the huge pancake of a leaf where
Water-drops skip across the green surface like beads of mercury.
Then he lets go, or prepares to let go, the stem he has taken in hand.

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