The morning dawned gray, and we were moored where spoonbills nested, roseate in place of the sun. I fell over gently on my back and we looked at one another, out of breath.
Good morning, I said
Good morning, starling.
Her cell beeped, with a text.
For Christ’s sake, I said.
She wrapped in a sheet and walked to the galley table.
It’s my father, she said; there’s a hurricane watch.
I thought for a minute. The boat was all our investment. I said, let’s moor opposite Good Samaritan Hospital, inside the channel. We need to start out.
Look, she said; the spoonbills had exploded overhead at the sound of our motor, like flowers Chagall would paint onto a sky.
In half an hour, the waves changed direction; it made you sick inside.
Do you want to stay with her? she asked.
Yes, I answered.
Say something, she said, to make me brave.
Wait, I said, let me anchor.
A dozen boats were moored in the Intracoastal Waterway, across from the hospital; all had anchored so that violent wind wouldn’t crash one against another. They would not turn their bows to each other, or their sterns, on the coming battlefield.
I asked, do you remember when we were children on Shelter Island?
Oh yes, she said, I was reading Dana Girls mysteries all summer, and I thought you were brave to take the horseshoe crabs by their tails and throw them into the sea.
I’ll toss the hurricane, I said.
No, she said, we’ll grip the tail together.
We were holding one another on deck and the skipper of a small boat nearby raised his hat, and laughed.
Charles Bane, Jr. is the American author of The Chapbook ( Curbside Splendor, 2011) and Love Poems ( Kelsay Books, 2014). His work was described by the Huffington Post as “not only standing on the shoulders of giants, but shrinking them.” Creator of the Meaning of Poetry series for The Gutenberg Project, he is a current nominee as Poet Laureate of Florida