Because I’m alone, I take my time.
Stepping in a chill rises
from the feet, passes through
the body like a ray of light.

At first it’s hard to stand up, I’m taken
in and thrown back, the sand is a living
animal under me. Sometimes the past
comes down hard like a wave,
messages in bottles drift just
out of reach. What we can’t touch
angers us, someone outside
the window, a memory, a child
crying when his head is shoved under.

But once I’m in past my ribs
the rest is easy. I’m out where
the waves turn white. Light
surrounds me as I glide in deeper.
I push through the surface,
look up at the close, shifting
sky: I’m in my room as a child. Sunlight
streams through windows, shadows of heat
move on the wall like waves.
My mother is calling, but I don’t listen.
I lie back on my bed and float
until I’m old.

© Ken Zimmerman, 1978
Appeared in Plum Creek Review Spring 1978

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