One of the bachelor boatmen is coming
to dinner. Over fish and potatoes and fresh bread
we'll river talk. We'll tough talk the trainees
now spoiled and unimpressed with boatman tradition.
Threatening to quit the company--again--
we'll grouse the boss and every skinflint
cost-cutting, deal-making transaction.
And then we'll start in on the other companies,
the ones with expired equipment and cheap gear
who couldn't run a fit trip for shit.
Around coffee and cobbler we'll agree
there are worse outfits than our own.
Our late-night talk might eulogize
the rowers who won't return,
the now-family men and pregnant women,
the home-buyers and nine-to-fivers,
land-locked and water-starved.
"Hey, remember that trip on the Snake
when a cougar killed a deer and dragged it through camp
and up the canyon? No one moved, hardly breathed,
and the cat barely noticed us."
That's the life we talk about.
A dory, a good camp,
the way we live on water.