– Peter Vanderberg –
What is strange is not the stories my grandfather told
or that I believed I too could be a man.
His finger was bent at forty-five degrees & I had recently
been given my first pocket knife — both proof of mythology.
What is strange is not that I grew up on the brushed-up
waters of the Great South Bay under the out-to-sea
gaze of a father who was his best at the ocean, gathering
driftwood furnishings, sending his sons over waves back to shore.
What is strange is not that I joined the navy out of fear
of becoming an ordinary man, as if making decisions
out of fear isn’t ordinary. As if choosing a myth
over the daily compositions of life isn’t ordinary.
The strange thing is that mythology requires such few
proofs: seagulls crying over my father’s house,
my grandfather’s bent finger, a knife in my pocket —
& that these made the other side of the world less strange to me.