There’s a ritual to mornings with my father
pre-dawn 7-11 coffee
misty Montauk highway.
There’s a Pop-mobile pick-up truck with
bobble-hipped hula girls on the dash,
surfboards up top.
The radio plays through rumble bump rides
on beach roads we’re scanning, scanning
scanning the shore.
There’s a language to mornings with my father
Groms and breaks and offshore winds,
sung to The Eagles, Jim Croce.
His excitement when we spot a swell
and the smell of neoprene,
SexWax and seaweed.
Stories of the famous painter who’s a lousy surfer
the famous surfer who’s a water poet
the famous poet who plays the uke.
There’s a history to mornings with my father
he tried to teach me once, twice
a little girl in a big man’s shorty
After a few shortboard flounderings, he carried me
into the only wave I ever caught
a thrill of fearsome floating and flying
I gave up, and he learned to build tarp cabanas,
pack giant cans of iced tea and ice water,
SPF 60 protects my skin from the sun.
There’s a now to mornings with my father
I swim, and settle in as he paddles out
to a pod of bobbing wetsuits
Sit on the sandy bench with the famous poet
who plays the ukelele
He’s a dancer out there, my dad
no more 60-something, bad shoulder, bum knee.
Out there he is all glorious, light-footed, longboarded grace.