Saturday, September 24, 2005

"Dead Reckoning"

This is in response to our latest challenge at WildPoetry Forum. The challenge invited us to choose a pair of opposite colors from the color wheel and write a 2 stanza poem of less than 30 lines exploring the repeated use of those colors. The stanzas should change moods as they change colors as well.

"Dead Reckoning"

I never learned to navigate that day. You only shouted
red, right, returning, repeating it louder as if volume alone
could substitute for understanding. The sun's red corona bled
across the horizon, the farthest bouy until mars would glower
beside the moon. When night transfigured green foam
into black, the red sector at Bloody Point Light winked
at me with its single baleful eye. If I blinked at just the right time,
all the bouys warned red, only red. Here the green doesn't signal

safety; it is the journey away from the known world. It took me
years to decode that single command. I learned to keep
red to our right and green to our left when returning from the sea.
Now I understand there are dangers in either direction. I choose
to follow the trail of phosphorescent green churned from the dark
water beneath these smooth oars. They guide me toward
the green of uncharted territory, the green of waving
palm fronds and the woven grass roof of a waiting hut.

ljcohen, 2005

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