‘A four-year-old in Australia has witnessed on media over 10 deaths by drowning.’
Statistics don’t lie around like sunbathers
but in a healthy respect for the call of water
you were, in all possibility, taught to float early.
A backwards float is someone lying
on top of a liquid. Can this be true
can water really hold you up like a one-eyed pirate?
You edge along a gangplank of anguish
slip into the unknown.
Your feet are treasure buried under.
The teacher encourages you to find your wings.
You’re advancing centuries, soon you’ll be an aeroplane
in fluid flight. Rest your head on the pillow of her arm.
She speaks again gently, you angle right back, she catches
your head and waves lap inside.
Your ears can’t hear you will not go under.
Splutter, mouth-drown. Water’s the enemy
forcing an entry. All those you’ve seen drown
rush past in a flood, not one of them is you.
Your feet lift off, you’re a starfish
floating – bottom down, face up – breathing
lilting, drifting, bliss-thing.
So, this water can be trusted
but what of tomorrow, will it kill like before?
You wait for next lesson.
To float is to wrap left brain in a blindfold, suspend
belief about sinking in water, that solid transparency
where belief’s an adult word out of your depth.