Trying to Leave Mallets Bay – Carla Schwartz

This morning the waves are ducks
waddling on the surface, not so scary,
as we start off from the land that makes up the shore,
a wall, but not a solid one, a lace curtain buffer,
so not all the wind comes through here,
not the off-shore winds.

Stocked for a few days’ travel,
we motor out at our usual walking pace.
Our boat, like a floating elephant —
a small cape house on pontoons,
solar-powered, electric motor,
no gas engine. A tortoise, not a hare,
and as the wind picks up from the south and west,
and we head north on these waves
that have graduated from ducks to dolphins,
and ride the seesaw.

These waves mean business,
like the bureaucrats at the registry downtown—
no beating them.

But this is just the beginning.
We could stop right now, turn back,
but we’ve been trapped here for days,
and want to get out into the big lake,
so we hope for calm in this, the bad-ass lower bay,
protected from the fetch of the outer bay, and motor on,
wishing away the pummeling
the wind has in store for us.

The further we go, the bigger the waves,
in the outer bay, whales of them
pound the boat from the side,
breaching half the deck,
and sound as loud as a washing machine
gone berserk.

You stand like Liberty
and measure the wind,
as if that will change our minds,
keep us from turning back.
The winds are fierce
and we have not even met
the open water.
Carla Schwartz.jpg

Carla Schwartz is a poet, filmmaker, photographer, and lyricist. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Aurorean, Fulcrum, Common Ground Review, Cactus Heart, Switched-on Gutenberg, Wordgathering, Naugatuck River Review, Stone Highway Review, Boston Poetry Magazine, Literary Juice, Solstice Magazine, among others. She’s published Mother, One More Thing. Her video work incorporates poetry, documentary, and instructional videos. Carla is also a professional writer with a doctoral degree from Princeton University.