The ice will leave the Great Lakes, soon.

Swallows will dart, and gulls dip and glide over the waves. 

Little boys will run across the sand with pails and shovels and shouts.

Their winter-shrouded feet will be coming, all barefoot, out to play.

But their skipper--my skipper--won't be there this year.

It was his time to go where the sea goes.

His races made the churning water curl, gugling, under the hull.

His freshly-caught fish, all slippery and slimy, were taken from the hooks and scaled, and fried.

His stories by the beach fires on starlit nights of sea monsters and stardragons were heard by big-eyed listeners, who giggled as they searched the starry skies.

Yes, spring is coming.

But the skipper won't be there.

He's gone, perhaps to find a mermaid,

down by the beautiful sea.

The gulls are crying.

And so am I.

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