Heather M Harris

TALL BUT TRUE TALES
OF A U.S. MERCHANT
MARINE/3RD  ENGINEER:
A SEA STORY


Dad worked the world,
Going, “oversees,” is what we called it.

“Red skies at morning, sailors take warning,
Red skies at night, sailors’ delight,”
Was the advice he gave new crewmen.

How the Bermuda Triangle used to
Tangle me in worrisome webs of weary,
When I postulated the probability of his vanishing.

Once, he told me, that in 1976,
Tip-toeing on the threshold of morning just off the coast of Africa,
He woke to a suspiciously silent sea;
Though the waters were quite kind,
The sky was as red as a Biblical blood moon, announcing, APOCOLYPSE.

The veteran crew, all knew
What Mother Nature was fiendishly fabricating.

By 0600, the sleeping seafarers were sliding from one end of the tipsy tanker
To the other; tumultuously thrashing walls,
Heavy hardware, and even each other at the whim of Poseidon’s pleasure.

THE OVERSEES NATALIE, was surfing skyscraper whitecaps on its side,
As if it were inside of a snow globe being tipped
And toppled by a child for fun, except there was no snow,
Only wave upon wicked wave, whirled by the winded whistle of wrath.

I asked, “weren’t you scared, Daddy?”
“No,” he replied.
“Why?”  I pressed with eyes seeking such stable strength.
“Because, it’s the closest I’ve ever come to God.”



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