Bitter End Yacht Club                                         

            He was wiry and black 
            As the troughs between the waves that night
            And when he smiled
            Which was mostly all the time
            The teeth seemed comically white
            Because they were so few

            He introduced himself as ‘Joseph George’ –
            A name improbable as the 
            Blow that turned a placid harbour crossing
            Into something suddenly a thrill

            Our launch was slamming into every crest
            And when the clouds moved in
            The club’s lights in the distance

            I feigned concern, which drew her close,
            And liked the way her fingers
            Clenched my hand

            Joseph reassured us and he had his boy –
            A skinny ten year old, if that –
            Pull up a tarp to cover
            Our belongings just in case it rained

            He struggled with a knot 
            But must have taken too much time
            Because his father slapped his face
            So hard he fell into our laps

            Then Mr. George himself finished the task

            My girlfriend would have stormed at him
            But couldn’t even stew
            She was so scared about the trip
            Although it wasn’t long before we docked

            Joseph, as we disembarked,
            Maybe fearing a reduction of his tip,
            Decided to explain that he was
            Merely trying to prepare his son, 
            Who sat unfazed astern,
            For what he’d find ahead:
            That life was tough

            Who was I to argue with 
            Such teeth?


            Emanuel E. García, A Deeper Symmetry2014