Can't count how many times 
people have said they can't believe
you don't know how to swim—
An island girl like you? 
How to explain that ringed
by water didn't mean ticket
to the local country club,
the only place then where one
could join groups of chlorinated
children in their summer rituals:
as guest, not born to, no silver
pacifier in the mouth. 
Though you're still afraid 
of water anytime it rises
above your chin, you learn
other versions of treading—
resistance against indifference
to your subjectivity, your speech,
your body and manner 
of cleaving a path one arrow, 
one stroke at a time.

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