Julia Donahue


Waves crash over the bow with tremendous force.
The splash hits us hard and we veer off course.
“Come on Julia let yourself go!”
I’m trying so hard but the sea is not our only foe.
The other boats inch up on us blocking the wind and we start to slow.
My skipper is in a rage and I shake in fear.
Thanking God our coach is not near.
So with all the strength left in my head from this vicious day.
My body no longer having much say.
I straighten my legs, letting my arms hang limp.
Lean back as far as I can, praying the boat will not tip.
This tiny piece of metal wire, shining before my eyes
Is the only thing supporting me, I come to realize.
“That’s it!” Here we go!” his mood improves as the wind and waves take over.
Finding a perfect wave in the raging ocean is like finding a four-leaf clover.
“Hang in there, just keep an eye on the line.”
I swear I am going to kill someone if we do not make it in time.
A horn goes off, someone just finished,
My hopes of doing well start to diminish.
I count the boats in my head, two, three, four,
While he yells out commands and I prepare to be quite sore.
“GO!” he yells and I throw myself in switching the sail,
Before hitting the cold slippery fiberglass like a bed of nails.
I try to wipe the salt of my face in vain.
Telling myself the results will be worth all the pain.
Five, six I count again as more boats cross the line,
If only we had a little more time.
Wishing will not help as another boat gets near,
To the imaginary line we are dying to clear.
Wait! On our right there is a puff,
That amazing burst of air rippling the water, we can only hope it will be enough.
I shakily stand up, balancing on the side,
Preparing for this miracle to help us fight the tide.
One last time I tell myself, as I silently clip in,
Pushing myself a little more is worth it to win.
I close my eyes and feel the puff pushing behind me,
As I lean back it feels like I am flying, skimming the sea.
“Yes! Yes! Perfect! Just keep it flat, were doing well!”
He has no idea that I am going through hell.
My hands frozen to the rope, my legs shaking in the breeze,
My entire body soaked to the bone, my arms covered in goose bumps, as are my knees.
We are inches away from the stupid line,
The horn goes off and as if a sign,
The sun peeks around the clouds dark with rain.
As I lay down in the boat my body seized by pain.
My skipper looks down at me, with a smile glowing on his face,
I smile back, happy as could be, then he sails us in to a kinder place.
“What a way to end the day! Seventh place!”
“Yeah I know Pat, and that was such a close race.”
With a smile glowing on his face, my skipper looks down at me.
I smile back, happy as could be, and then he sails us in away from the ragging sea.


Copyright 2002-2008 Student Publishing Program (SPP). Poetry and prose 2002-2008 by individual authors. Reprinted with permission. SPP developed and designed by Strong Bat Productions.