26 March 2008

When you finally scaled the wall, thinking you heard the sirens singing, what you really heard was a broken bird

Pulaski, VA
Pulaski, VA

A poem I wrote way back when...

Learning to Swim

At thirty-four,
and still shaken
by the thought of water,
I enrolled in a swimming course
at the local Y.
Try not to struggle,
the instructors told me,
imagine each ripple
as an extension of your arm,
let the water carry you.
Weeks later, after countless strokes
across clear blue waves,
I felt the tension ease
like rain settling into pools.
I learned to glide over the cool surface
like a gull wheeling through the open sky,
to relax my limbs
into the water’s gentle flow.

Tonight, though, it is different.
Lying in bed,
I can hear the river rising,
gnashing its teeth
against the muddy banks,
threatening to flood over
and into my life.
As the storm builds,
shadows sweep across
my window, dark birds
drawn by some unseen force—
twisted limbs reach out,
beckoning me to plunge into
the raging current,
to learn what I do not know.

1 comment:

Tema said...

As someone who both frequently swims and lies in bed awash in uncertainties, I appreciate your words.