Uncle Wally builds a raft, lashing the logs
the way he learned at camp,
and sets out to sea.
But then the great storms come
and the water heaves and Uncle Wally
is tossed on the waves, bobbing twenty days.
Only his belly keeps him afloat, like a Mae West.
Finally, in the darkness,
he is flung onto shore,
hypothermic and spluttering,
burying himself in a pile of leaves.
He wakes in the morning to the laughter of girls,
running and playing in the thick, wet grass,
practicing corner kicks.
And he rises up blubbering,
Uncle Wally rises up, begging for mercy,
bare as a blimp, caked with brine.
And though the young girls giggle
and turn away, ponytails swishing,
one of them hands him a towel and another
gets on her cell phone and they bundle him off
to coach’s SUV, heat on high.