Husband and Wife at the Bulkhead

Lavinia Kumar

Does it involve an overpowered sense
of magical thinking or am I actually in the stream?
Rolling Stone, May 13, 2010

Small fishing boats tossed uncertainly
at the end of the river as it reached
incoming waves from the sea,
which earlier had seemed gentle,
but now hefty, threatening.

I felt a hand on my shoulder
look to my side, see not you,
but Uncle Fred.  He told me once,
in a long letter, he was afraid to die.

Each winter he dove into London’s
Serpentine lake, ice or not.
He biked by the sea for years,
carrying his bike over sand
to sit on rocks each noon –
it was the water he loved to see.
And, yes, he was buried near.

Yes… it was you by my side,
you who told our children
in the face of waves,
calm down, be brave.
As I had wished to say.

About the author
Lavinia Kumar’s latest books are Hear Ye, Hear Ye: Women, Women: Soldiers, Spies of Revolutionary and Civil Wars; No Longer Silent: the Silk and Iron of Women Scientists; and Beauty. Salon. Art. Her poems range from science, to surreal, history, and the everyday. Her poetry has appeared in US, Irish, & UK publications. Her website is

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