By Paula Bender
Paddling my surfboard into the lineup,
I assess the lineup of game faces, and take my place.
I search for familiarity: Eyebrows that twitch
I take my place a little to the left, a bobbing spectator.
You don’t paddle out and catch the first wave you see.
You wait. You watch.
You watch the faces in the lineup as
They look out to sea and
Read the waves that line up on the horizon.
You watch the lineup as each surfer lines up to be
Just inside the curl as it crests and begins to break
Right or left.
Finally I get my turn and
I paddle like hell.
Feeling the wave rise beneath me I
Come to my feet,
Turning to stay high on the wave I’m
Riding along its edge until its
Face builds beside me.
I tuck in and under the curl, and
For a few soundless second time stands still.
Sea spray dances along the tube’s top,
As it spits me out into the air
And off its face.
I paddle back out
Into the lineup,
Trying to hide the shit-eating grin
That’s on my face.