The Connoisseur of Canoes


Nursing a drink in my right
hand, I enter the boathouse
and wonder how long I can
pretend to be sipping the few
drops I have left. The group
forms a circle shoulder to
shoulder in my peripheral
vision. Occasionally, someone
glances my way and turns
back quickly to avoid eye
contact, while I stop at a boat
and touch the varnish with
one finger from my left hand.
I pretend to be a connoisseur
of canoes, an aficionado of
aquatic vehicles, all the while
wishing the ice in my glass
would melt faster so I could
take another sip. Until it does,
I stare at my reflection and
wonder if people had it wrong
about Narcissus, that he
didn’t fall in love with
himself, just out of love
with the rest of the world.




Photo By: Xavi Villalvilla

About Author

Jimmy Pappas served in the Vietnam War in the Palace Dog program. He has an MA in English literature from Rivier college. A retired teacher, his claim to fame was his high school philosophy class, something not often done at that level. He moderates two major poetry events per year in New Hampshire.


  1. It took me about three months after I had written the rest of the poem to think up that ending. It just suddenly came to me, and I danced a jig and wrote it down. I was pretty excited about it.

    Thanks for the comments. I’d also like to thank Xavi Villalvilla for that wonderful photo that enhances the poem.

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