At the edge of the estuary where
the river vomits a bolus of silt that hangs
suspended in a density column of water and brine,
where the sediments billow and surge
like an underwater dust storm,
I pull up the oars of my sea kayak and wait awhile.
My little boat sits parallel to the coast, and the waves pull
and push lazily. To one side is the wide yawning
mouth of the river and to the other the lapping tongues of the sea.
Each beckons with its own peculiar call:
“Come,” they both say.
The voice of the river is thick and languid
but the voice of the ocean roars like a lion,
demanding an answer.
The river will take me nowhere, I know,
but the ocean will bear me nowhere I know.
The known nothing, or the unknown everything?
I dip the oars and turn my sea kayak
where it was meant to go,
pulling myself forward
and leaving the estuary.
(Written after the style of Elizabeth Bishop on November 11, 2009, with minor changes to punctuation made when I transcribed it today.)