Thursday, April 2, 2009

A Poem by Me: Or, Watch as I Beat A Metaphor Right to Death

When I was twelve my mother took a picture of me
Flush with timid success
After winning the Blessed Sacrament Spelling Bee
(I had a pimple right here)
She sent it to me when I was twenty-three
And called it "On the Verge."

That time between twelve and twenty is like that:
You stand on a precipice and fall
Awkward and ungainly and lovely
And you swim, surprised you stay afloat at all

But once your stroke gets strong, looking back,
The precipice lingers in the distance, beyond
An inexorable ocean, beneath expansive, luminous black
Sky. And it looks lovely and same from the middle

Where I am now, treading water
Feeling like both mother and daughter
And what's ahead seems so scary

But, I suppose at the end, when it's all old hat
(There's un-thered, time all spent)
The whole of the ocean will look like that

So rather than look ahead or look behind
Rather than linger
On all that sky above
All that water below
I'll feel the wet on my arms
The salt on my lips
The joy in the flow

And swim.