Upon A Vessel Soon Capsized


“…and the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started,
And know the place for the first time.”

~ T.S. Eliot


Afloat without enough words to weave a safety net.

That’s how most discourse feels, as of late. The stagnant attempts to find some respite in light platitudes and commentary. One wrong word is one unraveling knot–spoken hastily–undoing all progress made. The catch is spilled into the ink black waters, confused and flailing, pathetically fierce.

I am failed at fishing. I did not cast my net far enough. It battered the boat helm and eventually jammed the rudder. So now, I can’t steer, much less fish.

But I continue to float.

We all come to the same place, eventually. That purgatory in the calm open. Many dive in and tread water together, but I can only look over the side of my vessel and question how cold the waters feel. My hesitation might be construed as prudence. Or stiff discipline. I’d rather see it as a survival instinct. Hypothermia is a motherfucker. Better safe than soggy.

But the problems with empty boats and frayed netting are the same as lack of courage. And safe now does not guarantee safe later. A rogue wave could capsize the boat. A gang of floating marauders could seize the vessel. The waters could shallow and tear rents in the bow. Or I could finally succumb to the madness of empty and dive overboard. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, nothing lost that wasn’t found in the first place.

It’s fruitless to be so scared. It’s directionless to float without a working sextant. Whatever shore I’m meant to discover won’t come to me. It’s out there, across miles of glass and diamond. That missing block in my sternum that calls me out into the ocean.

Without a map.
Or a compass.
Or my sustenance.
Or my true north.

Afloat in the obsidian deep of Wherenever.


JW ©2018



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