Dead (Wo)Man’s Float

Clasp your knees to your chest. Pretend
you’re an egg in the water; slowly peel
each limb away from the body. Relax.
Let the choppy waves wash over you,
the agitations caused by your starfish
children. This isn’t the first time you’ve
had to take the extra beating that might
really be meant for the absent parent.
Resist the urge to try a Muay Thai
move with fists, elbows, knees, shins.
Observe the sandy bottom, the graceful
lines of kelp; the blue-green bubbles,
prismatic, floating to the surface:
the real masters in the art of holding
the breath. When the sun’s thermometer
eventually cools, stand up slowly.
Let the water stream gently down
your hair. No matter how many times
they’ve seen this, they’ll swear you
are a monster rising from the depths.
All the more reason to steer clear
of clamshells, leave the foam alone.

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