[ekphrastic on Surfer’s Path, Jupiter Beach Park by Ted Matz]
The point’s to ride the wave until it breaks, balanced
over shifting forces of torsion underfoot. Surf instructors
who work the oceanfront around here stress this
to their students. The fundamentals. The Nightswimmer
with his life-wish testing program draws imaginary lines
from Jupiter to Morocco. It’s impossible distance
and too cold for swim trunks alone.
Any fool who tries it should have a support team
shadowing. Bad math is a killer when acting solo.
Luck was pushed to the limit in separate near-drownings,
other summers, in different bodies of water. The Nightswimmer
was stronger for the previous ride of a current
past his capability. The aim’s to glide on tidal forces,
seaward, to re-spark the bedrock love of being
in this world. Going for staying. The aim’s to catch
an imaginary circle route to this shore
named for the red planet. In the rolling foam
where new surfers’ mentors offer board craft tips,
pro advice on how an ocean rides.
Todd Mercer won the Dyer-Ives Kent County Poetry Competition (2016, and 2nd & 3rd places in 2013), the National Writers Series Poetry Contest (2016) and the Grand Rapids Festival of the Arts Flash Fiction Contest (2015). He reviewed for Foreword Reviews, NewPages.com, judged contests for Publishers Weekly, Independent Publisher, Scholastic, Poets’ Night Out, and was editor of Dunes Review. His digital chapbook, Life-wish Maintenance, appeared at Right Hand Pointing. Mercer’s recent poetry and fiction appear in 100 Word Story, Blink-Ink, Cheap Pop, The Lake, Literary Orphans, Sonic Boom, Split Lip Magazine, and The Magnolia Review.