A Question of Trust and Witnessing by Jeffrey Zable

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Well, yes, I have sailed on the ocean several times,
but no, I wasn’t actually doing the driving.

I’ve been on large ships and fairly small boats,
but on each occasion my life was in someone else’s hands,
whereby I had to rely on my basic trust in humanity to get by.

What I mean is that if I mistrusted any of the drivers’ abilities
or intentions I probably wouldn’t have gone out in the first place,
because it’s certainly a lot of water to negotiate, and besides that
I’m not a very good swimmer. In fact all I’m really good at
is the dog paddle, but even that for no more than a lap or two
in a pool.

Certainly, if I ever go out into the ocean again in some kind
of vessel, it will all be based on trust, which, unfortunately,
I don’t have much of these days for humanity in general. . .


The last thirty seconds of the pigeon’s squirming,
the hawk holding it down with its claws, and as soon
as there is no movement below, the hawk starts tearing
away the feathers with its beak.

I watch in complete fascination, while at the same time
I feel sad and knotted in my stomach, wondering how much
the pigeon suffered before the end.

I want to call my wife, but as she’s a nurse, already at work,
and not needing to hear of such things, I decide to call
a friend who responds, “Isn’t that just the way nature works!
Just be thankful you’re not a pigeon out there in a cruel world!”

And for a moment I am. But only for a moment. . .

Jeffrey Zable is a teacher, conga/bongo drummer, and a writer
of poetry, flash fiction, and non-fiction. His writing has appeared
in hundreds of literary magazines and anthologies, more recently
in Third Wednesday, Suisun Vally Review, Raw, Cacti Fur and many others.

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