The Mad Kayaker Teaches his Wife to Roll

She hangs upside down in the current
And the mad kayaker waits for her head
To pop up. He’s taught her how to place
Her paddle, snap her hips, and appear
Like Houdini from the flowing world
Once more into air.
All he sees now is the plastic bottom
Of the boat. What’s she doing down there
Among the trout and boulders?
In the pool she had it down-and the boat
Twirled like a top. Now he waits a second longer
Than is natural for his wife’s body
To appear and float toward him.
He doesn’t think she’s scared-
The boat hasn’t moved or bucked like a pony.
Could she like it, this reverse image
Of the world-all water and shadow?
Finally, she surfaces. The move performed
With grace and no rush. As she rights herself
He sees the smile as the water drains
From her helmet’s ear holes. She’s touched
By what he knows-what’s down is up,
And what’s up is down-
And the art’s in moving in between.

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