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I. bowline

by Eli Skipp

it was always explained to me as "the rabbit runs around the tree and down its hole,"
and in the process, one creates a vast space. it is one of the most useful knots,
creating this emptiness. its loop alone has inspired shanties, heave away haul away,
and we're coming around coming around -- and i relate.

at seven i sat on the hardwood kitchen floor and learned to tie it -- rabbit through
the hole -- amongst other knots. these were essentials then; like dipping under the
boom and trying to remind oneself that the great lead mass of the sailboat's keel would
forbid it from ever capsizing.

they say we'll never ever capsize. even though we'd tilted so far i swore i could skim
my fingers over the rushing wake.

i could fill this emptiness with swallowed sea-water, how wild hair is, sun-baked
yellow and full of it and swept by the buffeting wind pushing its way past the sails, i
think i could. i could fill it with fire-coral and let the tiny colonies attack my
insides and hardly mind, for the fullness of it.

filled, this easeful weight in my belly will be my steadying keel.


Posted on 09/26/2007
Copyright © 2022 Eli Skipp

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Coleman Demiurge on 09/27/07 at 05:30 AM

I could fill this emptiness with swallowed sea-water - I like that a lot... A poem about a knot being a metaphor for something more, or something to that extent. Subtle, simple, superb. Excellent poem!

Posted by George Hoerner on 08/04/18 at 05:49 PM

Oh so many years ago I was a member of sailing historical society in New Jersey. We had a 40 ft Boston Pilot schooner. We kept it docked on the Delaware at Delran, NJ. We sailed on the river and once up the coast to the Boston area. What great fun and 'work'. Nice write.

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