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learning to swim

the darkness runs deep

deep like the galaxies

like sunset shadows

and penetrating pupils

the darkness runs deep

and i,

i am learning to


learning to


learning not to

fear those


learning to

ride those




those rising tides

of fear

that threaten

to wash away

the shore

sweep me out

to sea

with the moon’s

gravitational pull

but i am learning

that the ebb

will turn to


and the moon

always returns,

never not-there

and i

i am learning to


hands outstretched,

parting saltwater


gliding like a

pretend-to-be mermaid

at home on

the bottom

feeling weightless

though surrounded

in some moments,

i’ve never felt



can you imagine that feeling?

a child on the dock.

sun licking water off fresh skin.

knees bent, arms poised as a dolphin,

pushing off,


for a moment,


flying through oxygen-air


flying through


hair flowing,

legs kicking in slow motion.

propelled by sheer

delight of


breath held,

not in panic,

but as one,

for a moment, transcending

that which is necessary

for life.

then with one forceful kick

breaking the

smooth surface,

the exhalation as sweet

as the in-breathe


some days,

i am really scared of drowning.

some days,

i hold my breath.

some days,

i flail and try to take down

anyone who dares reach out

to save me.

some days,

i won’t leave the dock.

some days,

i can’t leave the dock.

and some days,

the waves are so high,

they sweep me away,

fully clothed.

once again,


but i am learning to read the moon.

to watch my tides rise and flow.

i am learning to swim.

learning how to breathe underwater

learning to see beauty

in this murky underworld

where the sun casts

shadows but

doesn’t penetrate

the depths.

some days,

i catch my breath,

catch a rest.

some days,

i learn to surrender.

some days,

i float on my back

under the cloudy sky

and breathe the

scent of lilacs.

and some days,

i propel deeper

hold my breath longer

explore further

the darkness still runs deep.

i’m just learning

to swim.

(april 2016)

.... 3.5 years later.... i'm still in swimming lessons....

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