A rising tide reverses rivers that enter the sea,
churning salt and fresh water in the estuary
as far upstream as the first cataract. Flowing
in contrary direction the seaward current
washes the harbour clean while depositing
the once more agitated silt in zigzag arrays.

Aboard the charter we are undecided whether
to ship anchor or break out the rum and coke.
If we sailed now we could clear the narrows,
else we must lounge about till next high tide.
Our capable captain, who is paid by the day,
makes no effort to resolve the discussion.

The helm secured, we gather aft to watch
the ocean subjugate a meandering tributary.
An invincible flood consumes the mangroves,
it sluices insidiously under the stilted cabanas,
nudging plastic flotsam higher on the beach.
Made queasy by the swell I retire to my berth.

Icy waters rampage through the galley.
An open porthole lets the sky pour in.
Just a nightmare they tell me as I wake
in panic. The tide turned and the bow
came about, a slight tug felt as calamity,
a shift in direction the end of our world.

Douglas Smith, formerly a teacher of Anthropology at York University, is a homeopathic physician.and author of several books on alternative medicine. It is claimed (although Dissident Voice has no proof of this!) that Doug and his partner grow the best garlic in Haliburton County. Read other articles by Douglas.