The Rowing Endeth
I’m mooring my rowboat
at the dock of the island called God.
This dock is made in the shape of a fish
and there are many boats moored
at many different docks.
“It’s okay,” I say to myself,
with blisters that broke and healed
and broke and headed—saving
themselves over and over.
And salt sticking to my face and arms like
a glue-skin pocked with grains of tapioca.
I empty myself from my wooden boat
and onto the flesh of The Island.
“On with it!” He says and thus
we squat on the rocks by the sea
and play—can it be true—a
game of poker.
He calls me.
I win because I hold a royal straight flush.
He wins because He holds five aces.
A wild card had been announced
but I had not beard it
being in such a state of awe
when He took out the cards and dealt.
As he plunks down His five aces
and I sit grinning at my royal flush,
He starts to laugh,
the laughter rolling like a hoop out of His mouth
and into mine,
and such laughter that He doubles right over me
laughing a Rejoice Chores at our two triumphs.
Then I laugh, the fishy dock laughs
the sea laughs. The Island laughs.
The Absurd laughs.
I with my royal straight flush,
love yon so for your wild card,
that untamable, eternal, gut-driven ha-ha
and lucky love.
Source: “The Rowing Endeth” from The Awful Rowing Toward God by Anne
Sexton. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1975.