Under morning sun in a cloudless sky


his balded head squeezed into a baseball cap,

he stands at the helm of his motorboat,


grips the tiller of the outboard

and revs up the throttle.  The rest of us,


puffy in neon life jackets,

grab the bow’s gunwales and hang on


as the prow starts to rise and fall

and the boat accelerates, leaving behind


the slow drip of vein-flooding infusions. 

We speed faster and faster, lifting up, thwacking


down against the water’s shellacked surface –

my stomach heaves


and we bounce ever higher in the wake,

boats skittering out of our path shooting straight


toward the low-hanging Sassafras River bridge

we’ll never clear and I turn panicked


to see the look on his face of lunacy or lucidity

as he pulls harder on the throttle to take us


good friends together on his truncated journey

before he turns the boat starboard


in a graceful arc the way gulls curve up and away.

Ellen Sazzman has recently been published in Moment, Comstock Review, Beltway Quarterly, Common Ground, CALYX, and Poetica, among others. She was a winner of the 2016 Moving Words Poetry Competition and a finalist in the 2010 Split This Rock poetry contest. She received Northern Virginia Review’s 2012 outstanding poetry award, a Pushcart nomination from Bloodroot Literary Magazine, and honorable mentions in the Anna Rosenberg poetry contest. She is a mother, grandmother and retired lawyer living in Maryland.