[35] In Praise of Whitewater Rafting—Cheat River, West Virginia, Craig McVay

 

The Cheat
will keep you honest.
When you’re nothing
but arms-legs-wind-water,
and white liquid shrapnel
sprays your blue eyes,
and the raft jumps
like lightning across
the storm clouds—

All time becomes white,
and all white becomes the river.

When Calamity Rock shows
you the meaning of man
overboard,
and the current breathes
cleaner than your lungs,
and your arms feel like
baby mice drowning,
and you’re scared
the brown rush
will gulp
you
down—

you relax,
straighten up,
feet not searching
for the bottom.

You rise quietly to the top,
and your friends haul you
back on the raft,
which is,
at that moment,

your home.

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