Monday, October 03, 2005

The Plunge

The Plunge

Tonight was your first time. You stepped

Toward dark waters, burdened with blankets and light.

Your first time. Dark weeds engulfed you,

nettles stung your bare legs. You struck

at them with a stick, as if they were serpent,

as if they were hungry, while the weight

of the night swung precariously

on your back. You reached out

a foot for stepping stone, a foot

for the dark water, and slipped. Sudden,

unexpected, you plunged into the icy creek.

Water swelled up around you, your body

slid into the dark current. Away downstream,

your hat swirled and you rose up to plunge

after it, staggering to shore with the prize, dripping,

angry, embarrassed. Your dumped a quart

and a half from each boot. Slogged up the hill,

home. All these years you've lived on the creek,

and you never fell in. Now you can laugh, and you do.

And you don't. You're poised on the creek bank

again in the nettles, one foot stretched

toward the water. You still have to cross

the dark water.

Mary Stebbins
For Scott Carter, At Silk Creek Retreat '05

050925, 050926

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