I am sweeping the floor for the thirteenth time
this weekend and it strikes me
how very much this motion
is like rowing a boat,
two hands spaced strategically
on a paddle pulling fluid
across time and space
and I’m reminded of the “Canoe Camping”
course I took my first year of college
to fulfill a Kinesiology requirement
and how I was happy that my partner
for our overnight campout was a kid named Nick
because I had a crush on him for a full five minutes
until we were in the two-person canoe together
and he started talking.
That night at the campfire
someone broke out a bottle
of Goldschläger smuggled in a duffel
and after I’d retreated to my tent for the night
Nick took a few pulls too many
and ate my tomato basil soup
(he’d found it while scrounging like a rabid raccoon)
slated explicitly for lunch the following noon
cold, right out of the can, according to a witness.
I had to stare at the back of his head
from the stern seat all the next day,
hating him hungrily while scraping my oarlock
against the gunwale in the most strident way
possible, hoping his cinnamon fire hangover
was worse than the pangs I was feeling
from lack of lunch. Still, somehow,
I had to collaborate with this beast
to ensure purchase on another shore,
chagrined at the very idea that in order
to hit homeland I must cooperate
with a pirate of my provisions
because I couldn’t get there alone.
And now I am back in my kitchen, sweeping
my boat gently down the stream,
trying to travel by treading water,
this bristled oar in my hands waving
the detritus of days across the hardwood
again, again, again, and again,
keeping the floor clean and our lives afloat
as we near a destination that is both
out of sight and underfoot,
which is just like coming home.
The river will always be deep and wide
and we will forever be wending our way
with our eyes on the lowdown and dirty
sitting right there in the bow.
We are all of us rowing our boats
ashore, one broomstick stroke at a time.
Um. This is incredibly beautiful. Also, hell hath no fury like a woman whose lunch has been stolen. I am boiling with rage on your behalf, and also with the memory of Johnny S., who snuck into my tiny dormitory refrigerator my third year of college and stole the leftover half turkey melt that I was saving for myself. I WAS SAVING THAT, JOHNNY. I made a real scene of the whole thing. NO FURY!
NO WAY, JOHNNY S.! Hell hath no fury like a woman thwarted out of her rightful lunch INDEED! I’m sorry you can relate but glad you agree that this is a crime against world order. Also now I want a turkey melt 😉