The Captain

He scanned the sparkling horizon
With his Tilley Hat on his head,
His eyes fixed on the one grey cloud
That seemed to be looming just ahead
Our little boat began to pitch
As the rolling waves began to swell
But our captain kept a steady face
(If he was nervous, we could not tell)
The water grew dark and frothy
And the whispering wind became a howl
But as the cold rain mixed with my warm tears
He calmly dried my face with his towel.
I watched my mother and the kids
Quickly take shelter below decks
As if they knew we would have no time
To prepare for what came next.
I was left to man the helm
Because the sails needed to be trimmed
But my small arms were no match for the Sea
Who grabbed our captain, and swallowed him.
Head first he was dragged down
His running shoes the last thing I could see.
Swallowed whole without a trace,
Except his hat floating past me.
For twelve years he had been my captain,
Through smooth sailing and the occasional squall.
Laughter and tears, skinned knees and science fairs,
I could suddenly remember them all.
I knew I was not at all ready
To navigate life without him by my side.
I grabbed that hat and turned the boat
Quite unprepared for the bumpy ride.
Who would teach me how to drive a car
Or walk me down the aisle?
Who would embarrass me in public
With his wild hair and hippie, laid-back style?
Suddenly, miraculously,
His head appeared among the waves.
We weathered that storm, and the many that followed,
And celebrate our good fortune each Father’s Day.

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