Her father embarked at sunrisewith a flask of water, a samurai swordin the cockpit, a shaven headfull of powerful incantationsand enough fuel for a one-wayjourney into history
but half way there, she thought,recounting it later to her children,he must have looked far downat the little fishing boatsstrung out like buntingon a green-blue translucent seaand beneath them, arcing in swatheslike a huge flag waved first one waythen the other in a figure of eight,the dark shoals of fishesflashing silver as their belliesswivelled towards the sun
and remembered how heand his brothers waiting on the shorebuilt cairns of pearl-grey pebblesto see whose withstood longestthe turbulent inrush of breakersbringing their father’s boat safe
And though he came backmy mother never spoke againin his presence, nor did she meet his eyes
And sometimes, she said, he must have wonderedwhich had been the better way to die.