Just once I'd like to come ashore,
unclasp my cowl, lay down my oar
and sit a bit; to laze and lounge,
to rest my bones on solid ground.
Perhaps I'd read a little. No.
A soul steps up and time to go.
I take the coin. My skiff weaves through
the shrouds of grass choking the slough
and out onto the stagnant river.
The surface is an onyx mirror
where navigation leaves no wake.
There are times I try to make
some small talk, ask about their lives;
but mostly they are dull or silent
and I can smell their brooding hate.
They blame me for the work of Fate.
Blame me! Can you imagine that?
As if I were the frightened cat
they saw too late and swerved to miss,
casting them down a black abyss,
or Time's unkind parentheses
that clamped their starving arteries.
I'm just a pawn, a hired hand,
a conduit from land to land
that spends eternity traversing.
But since you're here and we're conversing:
Take heart to what I say, my friend.
Before I guide you to your end,
attempt to make a grand connection.
Become an object of affection.
Fall in love and try to be
an Orpheus, Eurydice;
a Dante or a Beatrice.
I long to see the same face twice.
by Brian Dion
Brian Dion's work has been published in The Grolier Poetry Prize Annual, The Raintown Review, and across the Atlantic in Candelabrum, as well as several on-line publications. He was recently nominated for a 2007 Pushcart Prize. Brian is active in local community theater and won a best supporting actor award at the 2007 EMACT Drama Festival. He lives by the banks of the Saugus River with his wife and daughter, who permit him to be "a joyful participant in the sorrows of the world".