the bow of the long gray ship

rides up a wall of moving flat gray water

climbing to the summit

where wind rips the wave tops into white spray

you hang on to a leather wrapped cable overhead with one hand

and the helm with the other

as the bow crests the wave

the horizon disappears

and all you can see are gray clouds the color of the sea

the ship rotates and rolls as she slides down into the trough

everyone braces for the impact

the bow slams into the wave

water shoots upward erupting like Old Faithful

smashing into the bridge smothering the windows

you can see nothing but white

you spin the helm to port as the ship veers off course

the stern is lifted free of the sea

then comes down throwing you off course again

you quickly spin the helm one way then the other

chasing stability in a violent world

as the next wave approaches

you are only good for fifteen minutes of this dance

then your place at the helm will be taken by another shipmate

while you recuperate jammed into a corner with another cup of coffee

in a few hours you will be off watch and in your rack

rocked to sleep by nature’s hand

11/5/18 LV
Copyright Michael Douglas Scott