From the Levee, We Watched

the sculler's boat, carving
razored waters; the wake delayed
behind the oar thrust, streaming
like hair of a submerged girl.

The tenuous nature of wood,
fragile as pod; repelling the weight
of black water catching the hull,
heavy as paste, yet slips

through like an oiled sword.

The muscled-back rower
flexes, a butterfly testing
its shoulders, his arms poised
forward, baiting the rhythm

of pull with his chest,
shoves out, thighs tensing
like bullets, heaves rearward
and pauses, the world

and the rower stand still
for a moment as the boat
glides away.