The Green Room

The sunrise surfers wake and walk and wait in darkness
     through mist or rain, as gray dawn evolves
           an edge of yellow, pink, or paler gray.
Each morning, these surfers paddle into cold wet salt
     to find the line where weighty water breaks
          and wait again for waves—flat or barrel,
               smooth or chop.
Regardless of weather, sky, or waves, they practice
     balance and strength,
          entrance and exit.
The powerful part of the wave is the pocket
     ahead of the break.

The word love—like dude—can mean anything
     depending on inflection.
The heart releases trauma when it loves,
       when it takes the drop
            into the tube and soars
                 through the green room
                      on and under the ocean.
The perfect wave does not show up for us;
     we show up for it, embracing imperfection,
even when waves draw back and expose the sea bed—
     even when they suck the sea bed dry
and strand us in sand and rotting kelp—especially then.
     For love is not a gift but a job:
          every morning no matter what
               into the ocean.

Published in Turtle Island Quarterly



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