I didn’t expect much
from the lake,
but there I was,
tugging spandex past the thighs
I hated as a 13-year-old,
but have now bloomed
into stalks as stark as
the rounded stones
that push into your instep,
that is to say:
impenetrable and rounded,
curving into infinity.

Toe dip into ice cold
darkness, look at icicle sky,
peer down into emerald depth,
breathe out short spurts because I am supposed to
touch the water now. It is expected.
I am here for that.
To push off. Swim.

Betrayal
can be as unexpected
and startling as
seaweed
wrapping its long fingers
around your calves, skimming
through your toes,
making you recoil as from fire,
but it is not fire.
It is just
the terrifying compulsion
to never ever
touch the bottom.

It is not the enveloping cold
that gives way to panic in my burbling chest, but
the need to keep swimming to
avoid the floor,
knowing I might tire
and sink
into the weeds
without knowing they were there
before I jumped in.

Photo credit: Light+Shade on Flickr

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