In the Midst of this Ruinous Drought Careful Engineering* Keeps the Mississippi River Passable, but Barges Need Lighter Loads and Slower Speeds and Lazy Wakes Which Makes Me Empty My Mind Into the Abundant Waters and Catboat Wakes of My Childhood (Another 9-Line, 420 Character Piece)

Photo of 19' Menger gaff-rigged Catboat

Sometimes they let me steer.

My mind full of the boat’s wake,

how it was always different but always the same,

I’d lean on the tiller and watch the graph-like squiggle that I made.

And then someone shouts JIBE HO, grabs the tiller,

pushes my head down as the boom swings, trims sail,

and points me to a place on the high side of the boat

But moving water still makes me mindful.

And I really never minded being ballast.

Patty 8/20/12

Breck Marshall under full sail