By Ed Werstein
You wake up on a boat heading toward a great waterfall and the longer you are on the boat,
the louder the falls roar; although others, especially the younger passengers, don’t seem to hear it. People are
being thrown off the boat every day, most but not all of whom are older than you, and each day you are moving
up the seniority list. Once in a while a child is thrown overboard
and you wonder: why children? Some people are bothered so much by the roar of the falls and the unfairness of children being thrown overboard that they despair and just jump, hoping to avoid the falls all together. But
everyone that goes over, whether thrown or jumping, goes directly over the falls. No one has ever gone
overboard and returned to the boat. Oh stories persist about a man who came back once centuries ago, no doubt fake news, and even if he showed up now, people would throw him back over. No, we’re all in the same boat
and you continue to hear the roar of the falls in the distance but it grows louder every day. And after a few loved ones and some dear friends are thrown from the boat, you start to avoid the railing; you spend more time below deck, and you stay on alert for someone, or something, capable of pitching you over the rail. And there are more likely candidates every day. But you realize that no matter how vigilant you are, you might not see it coming and
you wouldn’t be able to do anything about it if you did.
Yeah, it’s like that.
Ed Werstein is the East Region Vice-President of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets. His poetry has appeared in Rosebud, Stoneboat, Gyroscope, Blue Collar Review and other journals, as well as several anthologies. In 2018 he received the Lorine Niedecker Prize from the Council for Wisconsin Writers (judged by Nickole Brown). Some of his latest books include, Benediction and Baseball (Fireweed Press).