Drowning by Thomas Piekarski

From my childish perspective
it seems perfectly safe:
I think I see my reflection

on the pool’s bottom. Plenty shallow
says my malleable brain,
brain not yet taught to swim.

Then a magical vision emerges:
I view myself happily hopping in
the way kids do a wading pool.

So I toss my flabby body
unwittingly into the deep end,
eight feet to the bottom bound.

I flash arms and feet frantically
like a captured bird, desperate
for air, gurgling.

They say once you go down
for the third time you hear
bells chime in your head.

I want to hang on, live to
rollick on my rocking horse,
watch the Lone Ranger ride again.

I only have to make it
over to the edge where a sister
or cousin can pull me out.

I hear mom frying bacon; it sizzles
while I’m barely awake in my bed,
sounding like rain outside.

Unintentional suicide? Gulp.
Flail. Gargle chlorine-laden
public pool water.

Will Buffalo Bob scoot by
on his dapper steed directing
Clarabell to dive in to the rescue?

Wish I was running Lionel trains
around the Christmas tree.
Immersed. Insane with fear.

Oxygen. Terra firma. Forgiveness.
Everything else hogwash
as toes tap the bottom.

Not knowing what or how
I am, but about to discover
the meaning of lights out.

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