On a sunny Sunday morning, perfect sailing weather,
they stepped aboard the Cora,
the hors d’oeuvres, hand-fashioned by the skipper,
awaiting them on the small table in the salon
as they settled in
for the ride up the Swinomish Channel,
the four-cylinder Perkins engine as steady as their hearts,
the skipper and his two passengers good friends
by now and becoming even better ones
as their relationship to each other took lasting shape,
the skipper and she lovers, and he devoted to both.

The buoyed path to the San Juans glittered with sun specks,
flecks of light bouncing off the chop, the slight westerly
claiming some attention for the golden day
and all it portends.
Two hours later the Cora, now anchored in the lee of Saddlebag,
is unloaded by the skipper,
the two peddlers in kayaks, “Wave Walkers” they’re called,
soon skimming the open water,
leaving the sunning mermaid far behind,
no paddles to be seen or missed, hands free to gesture,
gunwale to gunwale, to the stories they tell.

Giving the mermaid plenty of warning, the peddlers,
after hiking a portion of the rocky island,
clamored back aboard,
only too happy to relax and listen to the skipper’s eclectic music.
It was when he switched to Mary Youngblood’s CD
and accompanied her
with his own custom-made, cedar flute
that something special occurred, the flutes’ rich melody transformed
suddenly into the words “beautiful soul”.
It was as if the flute music had worked its way into his heart,
heart touching heart, soul brothers.
And here she was, awe-struck, seated between her best friends,
two grown men,
tears rcunning down their sun-tanned cheeks.


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