Marlin and the Inland Ocean

It rained so hard that in the morning
my car had drifted to parts unknown.
I had aptly named her Marlin;
bluegrey, floating above the grains,
but now that the prairies had turned to ocean,
I could not know where my boat had been.

As far as my vision sped
was an ocean pierced by the tops of trees.
They lay in a pattern of ranges and roads
and occasional rows of poplars planted
along their sunken avenues,
and all between was awash.
I rolled the window slowly down,
but the air in Marlin held.
A paddle, then, from a luggage lid,
and striking away to find a town.

When, before the flood,
I had settled Marlin to rest,
we had been running ahead of a storm;
the long side of a great funnel
coming down from the hills.

In the night I had woken to the sound of rain
beating upon my roof.
I could feel the transom lifting away,
but I put it down to indigestion
and drifted off again.

But on this prairie ocean
the skies were clear of inclement rain.
The sun was beating as hard as the storm,
so I clambered free of my window
and stretched on Marlin’s back.

Soon the wind was rising and white capped waves
slapped at Marlin’s side.
The tops of groves began to pass me by,
so I ducked inside and battened my sailing craft.

Where the wind and waves would take me,
under the wide and wild sky,
I had no sinking premonition.
There, a water tower rising, or
was it an onion church.
I must have come to somewhere,
but I could be a hundred miles out of course.

Just as I reached my foot
to catch on the drowning church,
a current took my Marlin spinning,
pulling her quick across the earth.

Quicker and quicker, wind was whistling
past my driver side mirror.
I could tell my car was off downstream
and then I saw its cause,
the entire ocean dropping away;
the end of the world, or was it a gorge;
The Badlands, scars across the land.

I spun my wheel to port, and slowly
turned my bow to face the edge.
She dipped and the sky fell up.
My Marlin dove below the surf
and surfaced for a flash.

Through the valley, Marlin plunged,
careening against its walls.
My head was cracked against my dash
and I passed from the waking world.

I awoke to the sun, full in my face,
and I stumbled out of my car.
Only to find that the ground was dry
beneath my feet. I had found myself in Drum-
-heller, hearing the drone of a tour guide
explain the Devonian Ocean.