There was a lot of crazy thrashing
and I was cursing myself
for not keeping at it with those swimming lessons,
and I had unkind words for the ocean of course,
the way it traps a man
into believing it’s just a peaceful, languid,
kind-hearted body of water,
when it contains deadly undertows,
a sudden drop in the ocean floor,
a rogue wave leaping out of the benign breakers.
I accepted my fate,
even managed to dredge up some benefits
to breathing all this water into my lungs,
such as never having to contract
some rare and painful disease
or waste years in a sad, debilitating relationship,
or be swamped with bad news upon bad news,
or spend hour after hour being totally bored
by life and everyone else who bothers to see
their own lifetime to its excruciating end.
In fact, as I sunk deeper and deeper,
I felt a kind of peace,
a sleep uninfected by bad dreams.
It was of no matter to me that,
when my feet hit bottom,
my nose was resting quietly
on the briny surface.
From that moment on,
I would be a drowned man.
I’d go on living
but as a waterlogged example to others.
John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Sheepshead Review, Poetry Salzburg Review and Hollins Critic. Latest books, “Leaves On Pages” “Memory Outside The Head” and “Guest Of Myself” are available through Amazon. Work upcoming in Ellipsis, Blueline and International Poetry Review.