The Man in the Pale Gray Suit
It’s feeding time out upon the pale green open waters.
The ocean hovers below the squatting fireball, waiting to consume
Its blazing orb of fire that settles reluctantly lower,
Ever closer, nearer to the ocean’s restless watery maw.
Finally, fires quenched, Sol meets its fate and plunges under.
Blue skies darkened, each brilliant ray mutates burnished gold.
I head away from shore upon my board and into the turbid murk,
Mindful of possible unseen companions in their pale gray suits.
Doubtless silently regarding my seal-like shape upon the surface
Not unlike a wolf views a lame deer, limping weakly into sight.
Paddling out, the mental math of odds and statistics competes
With the physical exertion of making headway, ‘til the thought's
Cut off by straining muscles, demanding ever greater circulation.
Waves stream in, crest, pound down as I duck under them and roll,
Surfacing on the outer lip, sputtering and clearing my eyes.
What are the chances that my dangling arms and splayed out legs
Will end up as a side dish for some ancient, primordial behemoth
That nature has spent 500,000 years quietly perfecting, evolving
The most perfect killing machine ever to swim the shadowed deep?
I am no gambler by inclination, least of all to wager with the sea.
Nightbirds soar overhead, heading out to fish, an echelon of pelicans,
Fly in single file, low to the water. As I break through the outside,
Piercing beyond the staggered waves and steaming crests, I turn,
Taking in the surrounding, darkling waters, now left in shadowed gloom.
I am alone with the sea, all but the hissing wave crests are still and quiet.
I know quite well it is not a wise idea to be by myself out here,
And yet the sublime beauty of the endless, crashing, coursing waves
Forces me to relax my guard, allay my unreasoned anxieties…until I see
The fin that is 50 yards from me, in a trough between the waves,
Its black scalpel of remorseless precision slicing a fluidic groove.
Quickly, quietly, as noiselessly as barely controlled panic will allow,
I lay down upon the board and scull for shore, looking back at that
Hungry phantom Tiger that prowls nearby for its next meal. Aumakua?
Or simply a mindless food processor that cares not what casual form
Its evening feeding takes? I reach shore safely: the sea again is empty,
Night has come as silently as the man in the pale gray suit.