Northwords Now

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Crossing the Aegean

by Brian Gourley

Before the day broke upon us like the waves
we waited on that last shore of Asia
for the boat to take us to golden Europe.
“It shall be, God willing, our Promised Land,”
I told you, my only son,
“where we shall live in freedom and in peace.”
I held onto you, swaddled you in a blanket
as the wind sniped at us from its cross-sight.
To kill the time, we played chess
and I taught you new words
to survive in English and French.
The Icarus was rocking from side to side
when she appeared and the boatman
ordered us aboard and told us it was Death or Patmos.
On this, our golden wing we flew, seeking our sanctuary;  
the waves pounded us like artillery
and the boat was smashed into timbers
on the jagged black rocks.
You plunged into the black waters
and I dived in to rescue you,
tussling with the swirling waters,
trying to wrench you from its grasp.
The next I knew we were lying together on a beach
and you were swaddled in my arms,
concussed and choking out seawater:  
a revelation of rebirth into new life under golden light.

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