My Sinking Row Boat

by Joshua Latham
(Raleigh, NC, US)

Many times I have wished I was made of nuts and bolts.
So that when against my mind my own heart revolts,
And the black smoke rises with an awful stench,
The solution would be a mere twist of the wrench.

Imbued with sorrow are my soul’s selfish cries
As to overcome the sadness it sings to itself lies.
The facet of reason is a wonderful thing,
But tell me why, then, does it so sting?

Are my thoughts truly so distant from reality?
Have I not striven to think with impartiality?
I am objective but loving; I am analytical but caring,
Qualities I thought were good, yet everyone is glaring.

I have become slow; my joints covered in a thick layer of rust
And soon my whole body will have returned to the dust.
Like an old car I need sanding and a new layer of paint,
As time goes on and my eyes grow ever more faint.

So much to say yet I can only struggle and stammer.
Like an animal gone mad, just strike my head with a hammer.
I am the ugly duckling, but without the happy ending.
Against negativity’s power my will is now bending.

You are achieving your goals and winning your fights
Against this world and the cold stormy nights.
Finding true joy and love and embracing the one
That makes you feel whole. You don’t need to run.

For the girl of your dreams is there on your arm,
As you stand to protect her from danger and harm.
You are more than my brother, the one I have fought for,
But now, it seems that I am not needed any more.

Yet how could I tell you that I am feeling such pain?
If I could find such strength, what could I gain?
Seeing you happy, gives me much joy indeed.
But at the same time inside me sprouts a jealous seed.

Is it evil for me to wish that you had chosen to stay single?
That so soon you would not have found the woman who makes your heart tingle?
I was shamefully happy that it was just me and you.
How much I value that, you could not have a clue.

To go right or left, you could always count on my vote
And together we would paddle in our little row boat.
And now look! A new ship has sailed into view!
But I must stay behind, as they only want you.

Off into the sunset, you both happily sail
While in your wake I succumb to the gale.
With waves crashing around me, I cannot even blink.
Watching you leave as my weak boat starts to sink.

I could have and should have let out my desperate call,
But to come between you and her, I do not have the gall.
The waters surround me; my body soon collapses.
The lack of air puts an end to my brain’s synapses.

Into the dark depths of loneliness my body will fade
The cold bite of silence, the deep abyss’ blade.
In my last conscious moments, solace I try to find,
But little comfort do I get that I did not speak my mind,

I know I’m your friend and your brother for life,
But no comparison could I be to a loving wife.
Deep wounds I have from seeing that I’ve never been on top,
But always below ‘her’ in your heart. And the bleeding won’t stop.

Against my wishes, my nature impels me alone to remain.
But I try and hope to stay with you, like a stubborn grass stain.
And while I will never hold that front spot in your line,
You will always be there prominently at the head of mine.

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