Night on the Straight of Georgia

Night on the Straight of Georgia

a smattering of flashing lights
the city
too distant
glowing beyond the mud banks
shielded by the trees

you try to pick out the light at the river’s mouth
the strongest flashing light
pulsing like a heart beat
mounted on a small weather station
amongst the buoys
and wooden dolphins

it flashes
faint hope
when the waves surge in all directions
frothing at their tops
walls of water
laden with river silt
breaking over the cabin
the fiberglass hull
shuddering with each trough

the wind blasts
striking you broadside
the bow noses off course
you compensate
sandheads swings wildly in the horizon
your steering becomes frantic

you grab the marine radio
set it to channel 16
the coast guard’s station
you clutch the transceiver tightly
just in case
instinct suppresses fear
you angle the bow north of your target
ease on and off the throttle with each wave
let the wind and the current push
you in the right direction

and you bear down on that flashing light
the river jetty at the south arm of the Fraser
where the rocks suppress the surge
that thrusts and pounds the shoreline
all night