Poetry

Somewhere Underneath

Today we are keeping our heads above the water and that is enough to make me proud.

In the depths of early morning darkness
I choke on my grey pillow.
Fighting, fighting, fighting
against the breaking of day,
against the salty brine filling my lungs—

You told me not to cry.

Dad always said
“Don’t cry,”
but never meant it.
When Mom said it,
we knew we had to suck our stomachs in.

In the deep end of my sleepless summer,
I hold my breath at the image of you and I
f l o a t i n g.
Our backs rest on electric blue water
that sting our eyes drawn to August skies
with sheepdog clouds.

There is the hot cement on my toes
and the sinking of our fears.
Your laughter is the sound of wind on wet skin
in pure 1997 colours.

I taste chlorine
and earthworm air
and stale potato chips
and your heart is purer than anything I’ve ever known.
And I am old, and have seen the Earth.

Today we are keeping our heads
above the water
and that is enough to make me proud.

Somewhere underneath our adult mattresses,
you and I are still swimming
under cold water
eyes wide open, watching the sun dance on our tanned skin
as though through glass.

Somewhere underneath,
we are still
looking up at the warm sky
wondering what this world is made of.

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