Outboard Motor

After my father unhooded it, lugged it down
the steep path to the boat and clamped it on,
drew back the cord again and again like a pitch
about to be thrown, grimacing with each
whining refusal, and muttered, finally said
She doesn’t want to start, after it always did,
and we shoved away from the pier, rowed out of the dense
tangle of weeds and lily pads, not once
did our resting oars uncross their feet,
not even as we entered the shallow inlet
between our lake and the next, just purring through
the reeds in that narrow passage, over the billow
of silt, the rocks, never getting stuck before
we flew through the waves, his hand guiding the tiller.

Elise Hempel

 

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