Father's Voyage

by Archana Nagarajan
(Utah, USA)

I was building sand castles on the beach

When suddenly I had a little child

I liked where I was just fine

But I thought he'd do better on the other side

So I put us both on a boat

No sailor I was, still I took the oar

I'll learn along the way, I thought

And set my sights on the horizon far

I rowed with all my might, all my heart

I rowed against the tide and the storms

I rowed in the shallows and the deep

I rowed without food, without sleep

All along I taught him what I knew

I made him do his chores, his daily tasks

So that when we reached the new shore

He'd know what to do without needing to ask

But no matter how hard I rowed

I always had much farther to go

I began to question my ability

Had I underestimated the journey?

And then, without warning my arms grew weak

I felt a stiffness come over my bones

My eyesight began to diminish

I couldn't aim well anymore

I worried if we'll ever make it

And that's when my little one spoke

"Just sit back and relax, papa"

"I'll take over the oars."

And so I sat back astonished.

Oh, he sounded so grown

How strong his arms were, how steady his gaze

He was a child no more

I leaned back and closed my eyes

I smelled the salty spray for the first time

The boat rocked gently beneath me

The cry of the sea gull lulled me

And then I was back on my shore

Amidst the sand castles I had long ago built

I looked out to sea and against the setting sun

A tiny dot, my small boat I could see

In it was my child, strong and sure

Rowing without me on board

I smiled and turned toward the land

Knowing he'll make it on his own

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