By Hermia Lyly
Dangerous water, they said;
Storms raging and howling prove it so.
Shifting and deep—how could she find truth
In such currents?
Rootless. Unlike our boat, steady and sure.
Watertight, we knew. Except
At times our backs were wet after sleeping on the planks
And our provisions waterlogged.
The boat is wide enough for multitudes
But floats barren. There are just enough of us to sail—the fathers to their work,
The mothers to theirs. The ship is wide, but sometimes
A child, reckless, loving the world, seeking her own journey,
Leaves, jumps off the sturdy helm
Into the rushing surge.
We never look down. We do not watch her go.
Not until they told me to leave did I watch her
Plunge into the water.
Something about me was distasteful, they said.
If I stayed, I would sink the boat.
I ignored them.
They taunt still.
They tell me I can stay, but only if I change.
Tell me I can stay, but I won’t be welcome.
Tell me I should jump.
Tell me they will push me.
They push me.
I leap from the boat, full of faith.
I drop toward the surface, storms growing—
And to everyone’s surprise, I walk on water.
(photo credit: Jörg Reuter)