Waterskiing

I am at the lake in the usual way
lying on the dock reading comic books
maybe eight or nine years old
when my uncle asks me
if I want to try to waterski.

I had seen my cousins, older than me,
long limbed and skilled on the water
fly across the lake being towed by the long rope
behind the boat going fast,
going from one side to another of the wake,
one ski or two depending on how they felt that day,
strong legs holding them up in their orange lifejackets
and sometimes they would give my uncle
the thumbs up or down to go faster or no,
or when they were okay to begin.

I had seen them start off, from in the water
not far from the dock,
lifejacket helping them to float
skis in the water waiting to be
put to use all of a sudden.

I lower my comic book for a moment.
I think for a second if I should,
if I am ready to try this
when it is my older cousins
I am used to watching water ski.

But I say ‘alright then’,
I am suited up with lifejacket and skis
and am left sitting in the water near the dock
floating my skis underwater except for their points
poking through the surface holding the handle
of the ski rope in my small hands.

There were several tries,
following the advice of my uncle,
about where to put my skis and
how to hold my arms and
what to do with my legs
but perhaps me being too light maybe,
the boat starting off too quickly,
legs not strong enough,
until it was evident I could not stay
on the skis long enough to go anywhere
and the last time I tried
I lost my skis altogether
and I had to swim after them
as they tried to escape.

Maybe I had meant to try it another day,
and at least I knew what it was like
to be dangling in the water,
trying to keep my skis straight
waiting for the pull of the motor.

But I went back to
lying on the sunny dock,
drying off from my ski attempts,
watching my cousins skiing
taking turns going fast
seeing them far out on the lake,
over the middle of the bay
where my wake would never cross.

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