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May 18
high above the river, from the edge of the cliff, one can
see the rafters in their inflated crafts, in the blue and
red and yellow ovals, bright and iridescent and suspended
atop the furious strip of gray as they wend below, lifting,

twisting, careening as their vessels sprout sodden arms that
grip scarred paddles, paddles that swing quick and deep  
into the foam only to then be held still and wide to the water,
a thousand rudders to navigate the rocks and avoid the

hard realities that rise in the shallows and are revealed  
without warning, some only to scream haplessly like
funhouse monsters, while the others lie dangerously quiet,  
unseen under the surface, until at river's tail the rafters

lift their oars in triumph amid the mirror-like calm, life’s
vagaries conquered for the moment
Philip Lawrence
Written by
Philip Lawrence  New York
(New York)   
104
 
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