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Theme: “The butterfly effect”



By David Miller

Sail south
until the butter melts
then turn right and
as your courage sweats wet the deck
isolate this small voice in your head
disagree question argue petition
all you want
but keep your eyes from looking east, lest
the sailors see
I tell you the horizon remains flat
though you feel your ship
cascading perilously off crests
about to be swallowed whole
into moated troughs
may I remind you
there is never always forward

weigh anchor at the double coconut tree
and try not to act as though
you own it
the unsuspecting neighbors
will receive you, but
their memories will haunt this remembering
your brave sailors at sea become
staunch scavengers on shore
and your brothers—
oh captain, listen, the future
will cry-out for a sovereign—
although you have no example
upon which to pattern benevolence
history will always be un for giv ing

continue along the beaches of abundant glory
disgorge your qualms, if you must, along all the shores
fill your holds with primitive and disappointing booty
but ask yourself, “Is it worth it?”
may I remind you,
you have but one chance
to pilot chance to destiny

at the rocky promontory of peak disappointment
turn right, go back,
the lawyers in Cordoba will be waiting
the vaster the disaster
the greater the renown
you’ll make fame and infamy one
you’ll prompt parades to pall
you’ll be disowned by a disgraced scion
you’ll be an uncelebrated national holiday

perhaps your opportunity left the dock
departed, as far back as Genoa
as fateful as the trade winds
that will push you along a course
not entirely of your choosing
you are guilty
of opening full the white sails of desire

David Miller has a bachelor’s in English, a master’s in physiology, and a medical degree. Raised in Indiana and educated in California, he is married with two daughters. He tells people that he enjoys reading, piano, hiking, and hanging with his family, but his friends say he prefers whiskey, Cuban cigars, and NFL.