Wednesday, 15 January 2020

My Mind Wanders in Shavasana

by Sara Backer

kayaking      my childhood summer lake    
view from the water reveals     screen-doors     small
private docks     folding aluminum chairs     adults
in pajamas     drinking coffee     or beer     as sunrise fades     
blue imbues a mackerel sky     less becomes more with the oar
my course     determined by loons

tailing the winch on my then-boyfriend’s sloop
short handle for fickle winds     the jib responds
like a hooked fish     a moment of tilt and speed
through the chop     salt lapping stern     toward
a bobbling turtle     trajectory of whale
double arc of dolphins

rowing synchronized with seven others
while coxswain commands     muscles pressured
in parallel sweep     our rhythm against the river’s 
my back to our goal     measuring progress
by furrows of wake

I assume the perspective of a hovering gull
my strained shoulders      now effortless wings
I look down to see the entire boat as if a leaf 
eight oars symmetrical veins     tipped with white
splash-dots    motion made motionless     the struggle of the race 
gone     why did I want to win?     the fastest flying is still

on my mottled blue mat     in a dim room
hands above my head     thumb touching thumb
one leg straight     one knee bent     I can’t tell if I am
right side up     or upside down  

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"My Mind Wanders in Shavasana"  is from Sara Backer's collection Such Luck (Flowstone Press, 2019).