Today I can’t write
about having a second cup
of coffee or how
I interrupted my wife’s dreams

to retrieve the covers.
Or even how that nasty Blue
clipped my line
and vanished beneath the swells
off Devil’s Bridge.

No, I must recall racing
across the choppy Sound
for port, our power cat
listing as the port hull

filled with water, getting in
from somewhere, and the bilge pump
no more use than coffee can bailing.

Then the captain, our jovial friend,
is our God, getting us
into life jackets, grouping us
to counteract the tilt, radioing
the Coast Guard with urgency
well short of panic, we hoped,
watching the breakwaters
get closer and closer as we came in
full throttle, past the “No Wake” signs.

Fishermen gawked from the rocks
as the Coast Guard men tossed us lines,
came aboard, and we belonged
to them. ER diagnosis: the hull fitting
for the bilge pump broke off –
water got in with no way out –
liquid ballast slowly tipping the ship.

In search of the “Big One”,
we took a small bite of the sea –
almost more than we could swallow.
Or Neptune hooked us,
then threw us back

into the air, no keeper
in his ancient derby.
No limit on mariners, but some days
they put up a fight, spit out the lure
and get away.