The Pilot
by Kevin Gardner

On this summer morning, this everyman's day
filled with labor, and the beginnings
of awe, the sun peeks over the horizon and
colors the sleeping lake orange-gold.
The poet walks out the western pier
Hand sliding deftly across the great chain rail
chasing the newness.Chasing god. Chasing
the cool caw of a hundred circling seagulls,
and the drone of the 10 horse Evenrude
pushing aluminum fisherman towards their catch.
He waves, gets a nod.
Chasing the road to tomorrow and the ever-present knot
seeking an end to the resistance to good.
Seeking peace.
Real peace.
Everyman peace.
"that's cold" he says to no one
as the wind swept lake baptizes
the old flip flops that he pulled out
from under his bed just to make this walk.
God is here he thinks, not for the first time,
but not the god of Abraham, And Moses,
the God of everyman, the God that says
get up, go to work, toil for peace.

Scanning the white-caped lake, the poet looks
Towards the summer cottages lining the coast.
Peaceful in the morning sun they rest.
In his mind he is at the helm of the Sunfish bought with
S&H Green Stamps, more than anyone had ever seen before,
Redeemed by filling Mrs. B's station wagon. Racing
Across the water , he looks
overat the sailfish, not ten yards way, piloted
by his best friend, Jay.
Two hands on the mainsheet, Jay would sit on the tiller
Harnessing the whole wind, he would fly. Away from the safety of land
Towards the unseen marker. Past the slower boat.
soaring across the lake, he would be at peace.
Real peace is not found
in the pulpit, or the office of the president.
is not found in treaties, or at the roundtable.

Real peace, solid peace
Peace of the everyman soul
is found in the simple act of the Samaritan.
In the act of letting the sail out to let
The slower boat keep up.
In the act of the pilot. Not at war.
Dying on a rescue mission.
The poet is brought back to his morning, his
life, and the sundrenched rock
by the fluttering mainsail of the Tatanka,
and the down-bound freighter crawling
Along the horizon
As her captain sets a course for the SaintLawrence.
The poet's mind spins to the day when the pilot quit flying
and Taps took on new meaning.
Rest in Peace old friend.

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