Thursday, November 17, 2016

Light Saving

Light Saving
           - Penny Wilkes

Didn’t you realize a career as lifeguard means water work?
Even with posted warnings of riptides and undertows,
people wander and plunge into the currents.
Many do not understand the use of sunscreen.

When their screams coil into spindrift and arms
rise in signals of distress, you will feel needed.
Dragging orange buoys into the sea, your
shouts to the waterlogged probably won’t help.

The water thrashers will clutch and scratch,
and draw you down. You might keep their heads
above water . . . for a time. Engage your kick,
as your breath surges into a sky bright with blue.

Don’t try rowing a boat to the needy. They will
clamber atop one another and swamp it. Then
you’ll paddle back to shore, fingers and toes
ridged into prunes, eyes salted nearly shut.

Purchase a flashlight on your next trip to the beach.
Try light saving from the shore. Resist all distress calls
by counting back from one hundred. Plug your ears
and learn to hum your own tunes. Breathe.

Twirl the light, bounce it off slants of rocks.
Make hand shadows into kaleidoscopic notions.
A few will notice and follow the light to shore.
Others might stumble, blinded by the sun instead.

Keep time with the light and your days will bloom wiser.
Linger, wriggle ten toes in the sand. Smell the spray,
until the ball of fire eases beyond the horizon
and day glides without force into night.

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