With Practice, Drowning Gets Easier
With practice, drowning gets easier.
At first you welcome the unconsciousness
that protects you from the moment when
the water expulses the breath from your lungs.
With practice, you can stay awake
to know what happens next, how your
body, heavy now with two hydrogens
for every oxygen, begins to sink.
How your mind is aware, how you could
describe how this felt, as guillotined heads
could talk for up to twenty seconds,
if only you were not alone.
With practice, you ride the wave
of air as it leaves your mouth, rest
on a rock, observe how your arms
keep reaching for the closing surface,
how your legs, straight-jacketed by
your skirt and slips, despise you now
for being born a woman, how the beat
of your heart sends circles of ripples
that hours too late will lead him to
the body now floppy as the doll never made
for the child who will never be born.
Your little one! You reach back to yourself
knowing she could yet breathe, so float
and be found, if you could get her out,
but the only rocks are too dull to cut,
and the faint bruise you leave on your belly
will be dismissed as evidence of nothing.
Knowing she may only now
be gasping her first surprised gasp,
you flee downstream on a trout. The sea
when you arrive is deeper than death,
and pulls you apart, thought by thought,
until each bit of sorrow is
smaller than salt in the finest spray.
You learn to condense and direct the drops,
follow him and fall as warm rain.
All he plants will thrive even as
he goes on shriveling in the drought of your loss.