Plane Crash

My father heard the engine sputter
looked up from where he was sitting in his canoe
to see the seaplane
nosedive into the channel
between Isle Royale and
Lake Superior

Dad couldn’t paddle too fast
but shortly after he arrived
close to where the plane had gone down
the pilot surfaced
only a couple yards away
and looked at my father wide-eyed

Dad laid down one more stroke
The pilot grabbed hold of the gunwale
choked and sputtered for a while
then pulled himself
aboard

He lay on the floor motionless
Fuck, that water’s cold

Dad: Fifty degrees at the surface
and you were considerably deeper
I’m eighty-five years old today
, he finished, apropos of nothing

Good for you, said the pilot. Congratulations

Dad pulled a pistol from under his seat
I thought it would be a good day to die
blow my brains out
without messing up the cabin
Get eaten by vultures

There’s no vultures on this island, said the pilot

Dad: Fuck it anyway. You’re a sign from God that I should wait ‘til another day, maybe another
month
Let me see that gun

Dad handed it to him. The pilot tossed it overboard.
Hey! You got a lot of nerve. Get the fuck out of my boat!
Just let me out at the shore.

So Dad paddled over,
with considerable pain in his arthritic
shoulders and elbows

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