Nebraska Center for Writers

FIRST AVENUE
by Lowen Clausen

The sky showed no hint of morning as his double-bladed oar grabbed the water and pushed the kayak east toward the bright city lights. From the reflection of those lights, he saw the swelling, falling, living surface of the sea. Beneath him the water was black and impenetrable. Only twice had he overturned with the kayak and felt the blinding, cold water envelop him. He had fought frantically the first time to right himself; he had laughed underwater the second.
As he crossed the bay, he carried a battery-powered lantern stowed between his legs to announce his presence to large ships, but he seldom used it. It would do little good anyway. While the kayak could turn quickly and easily, large ships took miles to change course. If the pilots could see him, and they likely could not, they would think he was out of bounds to take so small a craft into their territory. He didn't care. Here on the water he strayed out of bounds.

Reprinted with permission
from First Avenue
Copyright © 2003
by Lowen Clausen


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