The man who has experienced shipwreck shudders even at a calm sea. –Ovid
The river unwound in sepia bows across the valley floor, and the boy’s metal boat clattered, planed off, soft hand on the open throttle. The tight hum of it, and the warm June sun, and the river mildly chiding the prow as it skimmed across her tranquil face– shhhhhh… Then the river arced east toward the sun, but the boat did not, the boy distracted by some motion along the darkened shore; the keel cut into the bank’s gray silt, the hull thrown dry, beached in a breath. The motor leaped from the transom, churning, its blades hungry in the empty air — whirring in search of something to cut. The river unburdened of the boat, and the boat itself emptied of the boy, he fights the disbelief of reason, lifts his face from the mud and conducts that cold arithmetic of counting limbs and scanning sand for his own thick crimson. But, thrown aground, the sole change perceived was that now — with each navigation error and every misstep he might make that full summer long and well beyond — the dour, upbraiding voice he would hear, that had been his father’s stern reproof tempered with care, was now the echo of those relentless blades, motor roaring, ravening and indifferent.
Copyright © Kevin Casey 2016
Kevin Casey’s work has appeared recently in Rust+Moth, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Gulf Stream, Chiron Review, and other publications. His chapbook “The wind considers everything” was published by Flutter Press last year, the full-length collection And Waking… was published this year by Bottom Dog Press.