Waiting for a Tide

vacant fishing boats
and children’s voices
call from somewhere
inside. slow slow tide.

‘Filipino time’
admonishes grandmother
(not for the last time)
‘no good’

3 or 4
hours
have
trickled

by
while
we
wait

and wait
wait
wait
wait

for
a
high
tide

to
dislodge
our
transport

we sit
lunch stands
tethered
to a bamboo stake

time
time
time
time for stories

time for music
time for games
time for snacks
and we wait

‘Filipino time’ admonishes grandmother again
‘NO GOOD’
slapping her hand
on her thigh

her head shakes
side
to
side

when suddenly
movement
women together
moving purposefully

towards shoreline
leggings and pants
pulled high
above mud

and shoreline
women together
moving with purpose
toward our transport

pushing
the boat
and the men
into action

when suddenly
as if action
extinguishes
time

the boat is
afloat
and held fast
by the men

grandmother
is carried high
above mud
by her sons

and lunch is handed
crowing aft
tethered again
to a bamboo mast

we sit in boat
men in water
and we wait
smiling

action has
extinguished
the last 4
hours

a new man walks
across mud banks
from the south
holding his cigarettes

high above the water
he wades
unconcerned by wet clothes
cigarettes held safely

our skipper
arrives
shouting
with the men

‘sa
‘ua
‘lo
[the men pull]

‘sa
‘ua
‘lo
[the men pull]

thumping our
boat into
noise
and action

the boat moves
pulled by motor
and tide
pushed by men

when a call is made
all our heads turn east
someone left behind
running fast

toward the water
wading fast
while everyone laughs
as if time

is extinguished
by action
and suddenly
we are away …

© 2015 Melinda Irvine

waiting for the tide

helping grandmother aboard

picking mangoes

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One comment on “Waiting for a Tide”

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