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Rodd Whelpley

Your Wife Decides on Kayaks

Put in at the turnout past the S-curve. Then
she’ll choose: The lake or its feeder creek.

You’ll follow across the cove, slip with her
between the banks, trees above, their arms stretched

for leafy partners on the other side
like the arch of a Virginia Reel,

your boats, a shy, un-touching couple
passing underneath. Soft whiffs of stillness

slowly outdo the cold, wet-fur odor
of deeper water. Red-dappled snakes wishing

they were copperheads stop sunning, join you
in the calm, cause wakes as wide as yours.

Pterodactyl herons sail the wind, angry,
grocking. Your paddle strokes awoke turtles

they’d stalked since sunrise. This much life
on this small body, a moment to remind you:

Dying is easy—a hundred percent success
in the history of us, save biblical

exceptions with which you do not hold. Still,
you follow, though you suspect she knows the way

even less than you. Faith is not a stream
that never dips and shallows on the rocks.

It ripples on—to you, the boat ahead,
the love who sits there, the buoyancy of now.

About the Author

Rodd Whelpley manages an electric efficiency program for 32 cities across Illinois and lives near Springfield. Catch as Kitsch Can, his first chapbook, was published in 2018. The Last Bridge is Home, his second chapbook, will come out in 2021. Find out more at his website.


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