The man took two quick strides
And dove into the water.
The boy’s screams grew weaker
As he flailed about, several times
Going under. The man swam between
The boy and the dark shadow.
The boy’s screams were high-pitched,
Like a girl’s. When the shadow
Moved closer, the man took
His knife from his belt, prepared
To strike. The boy hooked
The man’s arm and the man slapped
Him away, to keep himself free
To fight the shark. The boy flapped
His hands like a baby seal on ice.
Swim to the boat! he told the boy.
Swim to the boat! He said it twice,
As loud as he could. Something about
The man’s bulk and stance alerted
The animal to danger, and doubt
Crept into its calculating brain.
It no longer kept advancing
But turned, slowly, and finned away.
The green shallows were calm again.