Today's poem is by Michael Mark

Water and Boy

                Now I know,
the ocean folding over her wildly, her strokes feeding each
wave, this is what it is to belong and I don't know how to swim.
But I will not tell my father, who of all things was most proud as
he pulled me with his voice and when I was on my toes too close
to drowning to do anything but breathe he held me under
with his hand on my head, the life he gave me exploding out and I
could hear my blood screaming. Then I was up, instantly knowing
the firmness of the sky and the unreliability of his arms. My cries
beating against his cackling. I punched his shoulders, kicked off his
chest. "You're not my father!" I yelled and his shark white teeth
pushed me all the way to the deepest water. He turned his back,
laughing like men do having accomplished their task. I would not
leave the pool, teaching myself, touching the bottom, holding my
breath to ro,12,15, floating, showing off for my mother and little
brother. My father reddening in a lounger, drinking tan whisky
in a glass with ice, bragging to the others; all of them enemies now.
But I see in her tiny silver-white splashes in the vastness, out too far,
to be a swimmer you have to be of the water and the land, the waves
washing over all shorelines, no shallow no deep. My mother called,
"Come out, you'll turn into a fish!"—no, I wouldn't. I was born
in fear and you can't be one with any in such a dry hard state. I
didn't know until now it was even possible.

Copyright © 2017 Michael Mark All rights reserved
from Cimarron Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

Archives  Web Weekly Features  About Verse Daily  FAQs  Submit to Verse Daily  Follow Verse Daily on Twitter

Copyright © 2002-2017 Verse Daily All Rights Reserved