On the beach, side by side:
there's my father's scar, there's mine.
Across our abdomens dipping
like constellations or long
rudders of ancient vessels rowed
by the muscle of one hundred men.

Our scars hide behind
dress shirts, ties, but
stream like comets,
reach toward sternums to
break sound barriers,
flare white at the ends.

Taut like anchor chains,
lines drawn in the sand,
hash marks won,
waves that crashed us,
slashes of swords, of signatures—
matching pageant sashes.

Mine runs left to right like English,
his right to left like an old tongue
without similes or question marks:
only present tense.
Welcome hands reaching away,
we dive headlong into the cold water—

his scar a squinting eye,
mine a falling feather,
his a chip of plaster,
mine a bent nail.
his a crying icon,
mine the first twinge of sunrise.

Underwater the tide distorts the lines.
Our rowers pant, look to
one another across the blue—
let our ships slip by
too stubborn, too trained,
to drop their oars.