THE SAME BOATby R. S. Stewart     THE SAME BOATThe contraption we still cling to
has layers of catastrophe lower
than the steeper ones we sought
in our daily dreams, sailing
or swimming safely to shore
and out again, the thought of drowning
as remote as the red horizon
we knew would never reach us,
a close crew, survivors of the seminal sort,
the kind notorious for bearing good news,
brandishing bravadoes, and so incautious
of the vital sources, the power of the quiet lungs,
the ears that affix themselves
to the echoes of rescue across an ocean,
more than a mass of mere water
but a home of some kind, a coast
we once climbed up on to,
leaving our breathing apparatus behind us,
meanwhile missing the different boat
traveling on its long course through a foreign channel,
the passengers waving and waving
as some of us sank and stayed submerged,
as some of us, longing for the surrender
of our own silver surfaces,
rose blue to our aquatic calling.     THE MAIN STREAMThe stream of most magnitude
flows out of a river bound
for oceanic expanse. Who
doesn’t know this, standing
on a bank and wishing water
were more abundant, disbelieving
the story of seven seas?
A stream begins as a trickle,
widens and narrows, basis
on the progress of rocks, rain, bends
in the beds of earth, depth
and height of cliffs and pools,
the cataract of wet worlds,
all of this so different
from the precipice that tumbles over us,
the spray in no furious rush to soak the earth
with us, just mild persuasion
to join a journey swiftly swept upstream.     NERVE ENDINGSI’ve never seen a nerve
except as a picture.
I don’t know when they end
or start or what they werebefore the name of nerve
became central to what they do
inside me. Anatomy has no appeal
except when I feel askewand know that one or more
of my nerves needs looking at.
Nerves, I’ve heard, are made
of something electric, a factI’ve never had the means to check.
Someone close said once that bundles
are what nerves are wrapped in
and counting them all is futile.     SOME POSSIBILITYThe care I took in the removal of error
paid off well when lines
were drawn to signal the sureness
of sensibility, its spatial core
more than mathematical, more even than metaphor
packed in bulk, heavy in the sockets
where surprises lurk and reappear
in grandiose waves to jar sureness of the surface
I’m still skating on. I’m hanging on tighter
than past remembrance, since behind my mind
I sense the sunken fear of some possibility
that all, all is in error.    INSERTIf it’s just an insert
it’s no quick fix.
Insertion’s laborious
and no techniquecan outdo the blank
of the page the page
is sewn to. Flipping through,
one has the urgeto paste and glue
instead of using the staple
for what it’s for.
On a big spread tablestacks pile up
at twice their weight,
and slips of paper
aren’t their brightest white.Corrections are apt to add
to the flyer’s flaw
but if nobody’s glancing
who else is noticing howlike an angel Hamlet says
man is in action
a piece of work
left and anxious to insert.  About the Author: R. S. Stewart is a native Oregonian who taught English at Christopher Newport College (now University) of the College of William and Mary in Virginia, where he also directed two seasons of plays. Three of his own plays have received staged readings at Oregon theatres. His poems have been published in many journals in the U. S. and Europe, among them Canary, Poetry Salzburg Review, 2 Bridges Review, The Same, Serving House Journal, The Journal (UK), the Avatar Review, PIF Magazine, Ink Sweat & Tears (UK), Brittle Star (UK), indicia, The Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, and The Coachella Review.                              


 

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