Ocean floor, steeper
You walk with undetermined notion
of what footsteps fall
and who is behind, who before the emotion.
When you come to the ocean you know you have to swim,
but the water is bitter and coarse on your skin.
With black clammy fingers it drags you to the shore
where is littered those before
who were like leaves, breaking with the smallest breeze,
who could not stand, who could not bend, who did not know the fold of knees.
You did not choose,
this journey forced upon you by a greater wisdom calling ‘ho,
to the other side of the ocean go’.
It presents you no solution to ferry you across,
but offers you an arrow, a kettle and a cross.
And it becomes your decision, it becomes your troubled path
that has melted into ice, absolved into water, broken into glass.
When you find yourself later in the middle of the sea,
and the waves are taller than you expected, the decision just to be
here in the water walking like Jesus but ever sinking
and who knew you could keep going just because he said come.
And though you weren’t listening, and said you don’t believe,
still you find yourself walking, holding onto his sleeve.
And your fingers are ashes, your wet body on fire freezing speech freezing cries
and doubts before your eyes
but your footsteps keep falling, wet prints upon the glass and the terror is deeper
than the ocean floor, steeper
than the mountain you see rising from the belly of a whale.
No, rising from the crashing of waves upon the sand
and you realize what this is, you realize this is land.
You’ve made it ‘cross the ocean, you’ve made it to the shore,
and you know now you’ve got further, further still to go.
But at least now you’ll be walking, not on a stranger’s sleeve,
and the mountain’s a welcome refuge, the climbing a reprieve.