Leaky Life Raft

Published on September 24th, 2017
Life raft in turbulent ocean waters.

Toes all pointed away from me.
The footprints…
Their strides…
Were they sprinting?
Invisible lines connected the different sizes
(stamped into the wet, coarse, cold sand),
which lost definition and proximity
with distance away from the place
where the waves’ hand gently stroked the sand
as the tide began to rise.

My body
Half firmly resting on the gritty land near evidence of man
Half lifted with each pulse of the ocean’s heartbeat
Inflated, kind of
but escape routes exist for the several moles of molecules
that I try to keep contained within my millimeter exterior.
My exterior…
Vibrant orange now faded by the sun’s watchful eye.
Stretch marks from the load that far exceeded
what my creator, my maker intended when they
selected my polymers from a catalog of life’s synthetic lego blocks.

The rising tide beckons me back
(was my purpose not complete?)
(wasn’t my life just a one and done?)
The waves become more persuasive as
they rake my underside over broken shells.
I fear the small puddles of water inside of me
may not evaporate in time.
That this time
I won’t be able to hold my boundaries
that I may allow too many people in
and puddles may turn to pools.

Who am I to turn them away?
How could you look at yourself in their mirrors
retina reflections made possible
by their tears and terror
as they tread
as their heads bob like prairie dogs
between the jagged waves in choppy water.
A leaky life raft, yes.
Together, we may drown to the depths,
but it’s the only way they have a fighting chance.

The rising tide beckons me back.
Washing, erasing ever trace
of the footsteps that originated from my walls.
Or that I was ever here.
And while I can no longer see their faces,
I’ll never forget watching terror convert to hope
in the blink of their eyes.

The rising, salty tide beckons me back.
(but I need help, too!).
But I need help, too…

No matter. The rising tide beckons me back.

Photo from Wind Traveler

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About Rick Manelius

Quick Stats: CTO of Contact Mapping. Author of Winning the Lottery Within. Graduated from MIT in '03 (BS) and '09 (PhD). Life hacker and peak performance enthusiast. This blog is my experiment in creative writing, self-expression, and sharing what I've learned along my journey. For more information, read my full bio here or contact me.