It will continue, he said,
even when the water breaks white,
even when the surface currents seem
to be going the wrong way.
The river, I tell him, is gray, and the ocean is for others.
I have crossed the river on stones and planks,
while others swam, inviting me in
and I dove just to please them, pretending
I could swim too.
My path is broken; the white caps are hard
there are too many gaps, always
I must find the connector: I use wire and wood
and rusty nails, these broken rafts,
whatever it takes to cross.
I don’t know tides or currents,
have never understood how the river flowed;
perhaps it does not.
There is only the leap, and my heart in my mouth:
I can’t walk this hard water or swim,
and I will never see land.
I will be your dolphin, he says,
and you will not drown.
How can I explain that
I am not afraid of drowning:
I have drowned many times, come up,
gasping for air, and dead, many times:
What it is is that
I can’t swim
and the water is hard.
It will continue, he says
even when the water
seems to be going the wrong way.