Glenn G. Coats
It is late morning. Live oaks with wide canopies shade benches and swings. A few couples walk hand in hand along the brick pathway that meanders like a river. Books open and close. Glasses of sweet tea shine in the sunlight. Voices are hushed in the park. Boats that pass on the waterway break the silence.
In the distance, on the other side of the Intracoastal, a fishing boat is towing a kayak. The passenger in the kayak is hunched over like someone asleep behind the wheel. It is low tide. The young man in the fishing boat stops just offshore when his propeller starts churning mud. He is talking to the man in the kayak as he releases the rope. The kayaker paddles closer to the bank until his boat scrapes bottom, tries to step out, and falls face down in the water.
Men in khaki pants and loafers rise from benches, amble across the lawn, wade in the river, and gather the dripping man in their arms. There is one at either side, another steadies his back from behind, and one gentleman drags the kayak along. Wives call out, “Are you all right,” and “Your wallet is soaked.”
The next day, egrets poke in the mud flats for minnows and frogs. The rattling call of a kingfisher is heard through the trees. There is barely a breath of wind. The kayak is gone from where it was stranded. It may have drifted off in an outgoing tide or someone may have hauled it to the parking lot. There are no answers just chatter about the stranger who passed before ever touching land.
will we recognize
what we become?
light in the wake
add up to something?
grains of sand