January 2005 / Volume VI / Issue I
Harold Bowes

Wearing Flip Flops

Wearing flip flops
He paddles a plastic kayak
Up the river toward the grotto

He rented the kayak illegally
Which is significant because until now
He has been law abiding
His entire adult life,
Excepting once with the neighbor’s marijuana

The law prohibits the renting of kayaks
From the river bank but if you walk down there
You find kayaks for rent

He is vacationing in Kauai
Last night he met a woman in a bar
And they walked on the beach in moonlight
But that was all, but that was something

He paddles past the barges
That carry the tourists to the grotto

He paddles farther up the river
Beyond the grotto
Until the river bends and there is a tree
With a round, round top
Like a dandelion gone to seed
Mountains on all sides
This takes only a little while

He paddles back
Engages in an informal race
Along the way
With another kayaker
Wins, gets to the river bank first

Returns the kayak to its owner

The tree was beautiful, round
I tell you this