The old lifesaving station sits just beyond the tides,
the wood is stripped of its paint
Boards flap in the wind.
A flag flutters in the wind,
a triangle of faded polyester,
its flapping like an announcement
of a battle lost.
You are no longer in the saving business.
You have left that folly behind,
your soul seared raw like bleached board,
you have learned your lesson,
that in the end,
we save no one beyond ourselves,
that we can be no more than a beacon
above the tide.
About this poem
Some of us have a savior complex. I used to have a bit of one myself, but I’ve had it beaten out of me, learning that it was all I could handle to save myself. A hard lesson of pride and failure and honesty.