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Peter Is Still Walking on Water
At first it was simply the huge gasping HA of joy, like a crowd rising to its feet, like a sudden haul of fish in a net that was empty moments before—a surge of power springing him into space, the thought of a landing wholly absent, thought itself wholly absent, no sense even of self at all, only the moment, the moonlight, and that familiar, strange, beloved face that promised everything—only that. Years later in the moments of ceiling-staring before sleep he would tell himself the story, walk himself through each moment, the bawl and bluster of wild wind and water and then the impossible coming towards him, arms outstretched. It was the future approaching, and all it promised, a peace that brought a different upheaval, upending everything he thought he knew—about the world, about himself. In reliving and reliving that moment, he had learned to forbid himself the writhing regret, force his mind away from the flounder, the drenching disappointment of falling short, that wet hoist back into the boat; had learned that it does no one any good to carry their own earlier selves on their backs through life. No, it was not that shame which kept him awake. Instead, it was this: What, in that moment, had he felt beneath his feet? What had he stepped on? Had his soles slapped slippery surface or sunk two inches down? Had he tiptoed or stomped? Or danced? He cast and cast again his mind into his feet, replaying, replaying, searching, imagining, but—nothing, nothing. Only that shining face, that outstretched hand.
Darlene Young has published two poetry collections (Here, and Homespun and Angel Feathers, both from BCC Press). She lives in South Jordan, Utah and teaches writing at Brigham Young University.