We’ve been standing on the docks of the marina for a while now,
Hoping to see the manatees that were promised to us,
Though we’ve been luckless thus far.
Occasionally, we stir as the water swirls mysteriously,
And giant pockets of air rise to the surface with a comical blub.
Yet still there are no manatees,
Nor any other signs which give us hope,
And so we’re forced to watch these bubbles of exhaled air,
Our only proof of the large lungs below.
Several times we have left our stagnant dock,
Running toward some other, more promising spot,
Some spot, my companions decide, where we would breach,
You know, if we three were manatees.
Many times we move about the docks,
Our heels beating repeatedly on the wood,
A siren’s call to the unimpressed sea cows below,
Until, manatee ho!, a beefy creature breaks the surface.
It is with toothy smiles we greeted the blubbery beast,
And with whimpers of adoration that we welcomed its calf,
That chunky, floppy-lipped baby.
Several, then, appeared in succession,
First as ominous red ovals, like drops of my blood,
Before gradually obtaining definition,
And breaching the calm waters.
Gleefully we snap photos with the camera,
An aid for our forgetful minds,
Remarking to one another how lucky we are.
How blessed to have this man-made alcove,
A sanctuary where we can view this herd of endangered beasts.
The largest surfaces now, his size a testament to his age and wisdom.
He moves slowly with the patience of an old-timer who’s seen too much,
And his mood implies he’s only surfaced for an obligatory breath,
Before returning to the invisible depths below this wood.
As he begins his descent, which is less diving than sinking,
He shows us his scars, shaped like our smiles,
And I consider my words,
“How lucky we are.”