It comes in waves.
Like bobbing out past the breakers in a summer ocean
you smile or laugh because you can’t let yourself think of what
might be unseen below and behind you.
Staring back at the shoreline filled with baking crowds
who are also ignoring the hidden depths that pour
out into the horizon
you realize as you continually move
your arms and legs to stay afloat
that the sky would not notice
if you were swallowed.
Toes are the first to go numb.
Mentally measuring the distance against your body’s strength
a safety line you feel it pulling. Eventually you double back
and find that the noise from the waves
and the blister-skinned bathers
might be enough to keep you
from re-entering the waters
The chill that has seeped into your bones
asks you to stay
here in the sun.
I fear drowning.
Having swallowed and gasped pool and pond water
as a child
failing to swim
it is a pain that lasts
and lesson learned.
I can’t help but stare at stories of people drowning
in their own seas.
Their own bodies
forced to produce a riptide
that cannot be predicted
Incased, wrapped, and penetrated by plastics
all meant to protect
A singular helpless body
trying to keep moving
over an unimaginable deep
they could so easily slip into
while the sky doesn’t notice.