Waves Shaped Like Nabokov’s Motels

Waves shaped like
Nabokov’s motels
washed ashore,
deep blue, slate gray, lime green,
colors congealing,
colors of Melville’s meditation.

Beautiful to behold,
these Nabokov waves,
from land,
where I was,
eating a cheese sandwich
on a driftlog,
watching a tiny crab boat,
a toy really,
half a football field away
that couldn’t, shouldn’t be there,
bobbing, listing, rolling, flailing
in the madness
of swells and sprays.

I was eating lunch
and wondering if the boat would capsize,
that I might have to do something
like call 9-1-1,
or drag the captain
out of the surf,
perform mouth to mouth,
on a fool.

I would do nothing.
I would watch death
from the front row.
I would later
write a poem about death.
Poets relish death
so much more than rescue.
They know how to write about death,
but they don’t know how to rescue.
Actually they don’t care to rescue.
Look at James Dickey!

I heard something in the distance.
I looked up and south.
A Coast Guard chopper!
My only hope
was a broken rope,
a Coastie Falling
like Dickey’s Falling.