Lee Dowling, The Dock

Wherever water meets land there is mystery.
Land creatures may explore the water's edge, but they are never of the water,
just as aquatic dwellers founder helplessly on shore.

With any interface of parallel universes,
only special equipment allows you to observe the other side;
though artifacts may cross the barrier anytime,
they do not flourish where they were not born to live.

Your skiff may gather tasty fishes –
some might live tenuously among you in aquaria --
but your tethered goats and corralled sheep could perish in high tide or hurricane,
and you can only be submerged as long as your dive regulator will allow.

Begin your journey at the dock, and in your buoyant exploration module
venture into vastness, unknown and unknowable except in minuscule glimpse,
for you may only dare to skim the surface of this alien world.

Though you have sailed ten thousand times, and though your task is now routine,
with each journey there is risk.

Though you return to the dock with bounty to be savored, shared or bartered,
though your livelihood depends upon the catch,
and though you celebrate with beer and dancing, jambalaya, hoppin' john and zydeco,
an unspoken, unpaid price remains.

Will you be the one to pay it,
feeding tomorrow the world that fed you yesterday,

or will you be the one that got away?

Thea Chesley