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A Sunday Afternoon

We’re coasting along

just drifting down the river

when one of our clothes

gets caught in the brambles

and they scratch our skin

and we bleed


And argue

who was rowing

and why don’t we stay

in the center of the river

and argue.

Now the currents are swifter

and the journey more bumpy

which makes us frightened


We argue about

whether the couple

in the boat behind

can hear us arguing

or perhaps they have a band aid

to stop the bleeding

but you don’t like

asking people for help

do you?


By the time the bleeding stops

you’re cold and wet and hungry

and I’ve lost one of the oars

and the boat’s going round and round

and the mooring dock is drifting past


And we’re heading downstream

to where the currents are even swifter

the brambles more thorny

arguing and blaming

all sunburned and red


Until eventually we spin out

into a broad flat pond

on the banks are tables

with self-help books

“Manage Your Own Canoe” and

“How to Argue Constructively”

and behind the tables

sit the marriage counselors

rubbing their hands


They’re booked up today

so come back next week

and next month

and next year


In the end we get wise

buy ourselves an inflatable garden pool

some deck chairs,

two self-help books

one for you and one for me

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© Johnmichael Simon



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