We pulled back, every fifth

Of the way, stretching our hands

Out, like he told us. No stopping,

By all means, "Continue!"

So that the rhythm doesn't sink.

The course is long, longer

Than it should be, for practice's sake

And the islands shift out of sight.

Of course I'm the only one

Who's tired now, the oars burning

Into my palms-he says coconut oil's

The only cure- as I tighten my grip,

Give a little more power. Sometimes,

I give too much and droplets of foul

Water splash over us, but I'm never

As soaked as number 1. And so, when

We reach the jetty, our arms wrestling

Against some unknown, uncalled for fatigue,

She's usually cussing. Poor Sejal, stuck

With someone who never learnt technique,

Never mastered speed nor ever, not even once

Fell in.