Slipknot

Muzzy light buzzed – saturated. He drifted.

“Jimmy?”

The sails fill, then scrape and shake against the stays. He comes about. Silence in the wind’s hole and then the breeze catches. He pulls the boom sheet tight. The boat rises briskly into the next wave. Wind dapples the surface of the oncoming waves. The gust hits with authority. The mast snaps. Thud, flash, pain and light. Wet. Drifting.

If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there, will a flower rise from where it falls?

The rose wilts. It stayed in the vase for over a week. The thin green wire that stiffened the stem held, but the bloom faded. He had never received a rose from someone. Men are supposed to send the rose!

First date. An elegant play on a thrust stage. Shakespeare: Hamlet. A clumsy kiss and then the rose in the vase on his desk the next day. He smiled.

Dream? Walk the bridge railing high above the rocks and water, at the brink, on the edge. The wind rushes down the hill and the aspen leaves rattle, splashing against each other. Perched here like a bird, he waits for the breeze to blow him off the rail.

“Wake Jimmy, wake. Open your eyes!”

The rose in the woods, next to the fallen tree, a soft hand in hand at night’s end. “I had a wonderful time.” Kiss in the twilight of the porch window. Her lips.

Dare he dream a soul pushing light against dark. Step in, step out, dance away, trip to the limit, rock and water, water and birth. Order leaks into the dream. Tired. Sleep. Dream.

The slipknot tied to the dock as the sails are run up, keeps the straining boat at bay, barely controlled, more unruly as the halyard runs skyward. Quickly released, the knot is off the cleat. Underway she leans to port, splash coming in over the starboard side, the port rail underwater. Exhilaration.

Ninety degrees and the breeze stiff out of the south. He runs the razor’s edge, spilling wind to keep the line, left arm straining, the water’s pressure against the rudder relentless.

The rose folds into the ground and the tree stands, its’ leaves fresh in the green of spring. “I have never felt this way before.” The light from deep brown eyes penetrates the darkness. Giddy, he turns. His head roars in light, past, present, oscillates.

The slip knot tethers the rose to the tree. The boat and her voice release the slipknot, his eyes open as the nurse opens the blinds. He rolls toward the chair beside his bed, rose made flesh. “Jimmy, you’re here!”

He smiles.

Author: Doug Lewandowski

I have walked a varied path. I was a Christian Brother, an English teacher/counselor and Licensed Psychologist. I have a twice monthly column in the Duluth News Tribune and have had a story published in the Nemadji Review and placed third in this year’s Jade Ring contest of the Wisconsin Writer’s Association. I was a commentator for KCRB, Minnesota Public Radio in the 90s. I transplanted to Duluth to be closer to grandchildren.

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