Saturday, June 25, 2016


I went sailing once when I was a girl
barely big enough for a life jacket.
I remember the sun sparking the water,
the strong, tan legs of my father,
the sleek, white lines of the boat.
I don't remember the capsize at all.

Not the fill of lake water in my nose.
Not the crack of my skull against the hull.
Not even the screaming scrambling search for my mother
trapped in the ropes below.

Years later, mama told me that her only thought
as the water took her air
was that her daughter was up there
watching her drown.
But memory is a funny thing I've found.

All I remember is sun on the water,
tan legs,
a sleek, white boat,
and I know that I've been sailing      once

and that once      is all I've cared to go.

For Gillena's prompt at Real Toads


gillena cox said...

Thanks for your response Mama Zen. The recall, the rembrance, the duty of your words

Much love...

Kerry O'Connor said...

What a terrifying experience, underlined by the dream-like quality of recall.

brudberg said...

With that experience it only takes once... it must be great to be firmly places ashore after something like that..

Outlawyer said...

Ha. Very charming, and so true in terms of both memory and mothering, and even sailing--thanks, MZ. k

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Wow. An amazing event. So glad everyone came through okay and one would not care to go out on boats after that. I have always been afraid of them too. Much as I love the sea, I know her power.

Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

Yes, I would think that might put one off for life! (Even if not consciously recollected.) I'm glad both you and your mother were spared her drowning – but still a shocking experience. Yet, it's nice that you remember the happy, beautiful bits.

Fireblossom said...

Oklahomans need not fear a life at sea. Barnacles and behemoths from the deep do not disturb their dusty dreams.

Memory is a funny thing.

Jim said...

Sherry thinks all came through fine, I see the both of you drowning. A good read, a nice reunion of mother/daughter, and now I will be wondering. Lovely effect.

Anonymous said...

Wisely told -- we die and don't, and memory is a strange raft, ever taking on water. I almost drowned in pool at 3 or so years old and all I remember is the wonder of the water and a pole poking me from above.

Debi Swim said...

Scary somewhere in your brain but I'm glad you still remember the good

Stacie Eirich said...

Oh my it is amazing what the brain keeps, what the heart keeps (sometimes I feel they are different, others the same) -- and I've found that my children also keep the smoothness and not the rough bits. Or maybe it's that they remind me of the smooth waters when I'm amid rough tides. Thank you for sharing this.