WATER

Four is the number of death by water

We'll move to Ohio and live in the sun

Safe in the middle of middle America

By the mouth of Lake Erie, the hungry one.

 

All your life you were moving toward this place, from the first,

As your mother stood at the window watching flood-water swirl around the corner in Dayton, Ohio

      meeting place of the Maumee. the Miami and Mad....

in 1913,

You were coming here.

As you were born,

You were coming here.

Each joy each sorrow, leaping fish, frog in the pond, skating on the river. Camping in Michigan.

Swimming in lake Superior.

      "The coldest water I ever swam in. We jumped in and the shock

       was - we couldn't feel anything, anything at all, and then when we jumped      

       out we were blue, blue with the cold."

Moored and marooned by the lifeless lake,

Left alone to raise children, bear winter, decide, decide,

This came closer.

You thought you were treading water.

We all do.

Summers on the sea, swimming again, far out to the horizon,

Come back come back.

I should have let you go.

Did you know?

Closer and closer it comes nearer the hungry mouth.

The road narrows.

We walk to the salt-water pond each afternoon.

It hurts to walk; it's easy to fall.

We enter the water and you are free.

Nothing hurts, you say, it's wonderful.

I'm so lucky you say.

The tears are running down my cheeks now.

We were coming closer all the time.

Why did we come out of the water?

Stumbling limping leaning struggling

Always cold.

Remember the first summer you were cold all the time.

And one night I put your blanket in the dryer.

And put it over you in bed.

I'm so lucky you said.

I dream some warm day I'll come and take you out of that place we put you in.

And put you in the car, drive fast fast

Right to the edge of the warm ocean.

I'll push your chair into the water until

I can tip you out.

You'll float.

Nothing hurts you'll say, it's wonderful.

You'll look at me and see me.

I'm so lucky

We'll swim out to sea and never come back.

Maybe the seal people will take us.

Nothing will hurt.

Everyone else will die and go to Heaven.

They'll sit at the right hand of God looking down at us over the edges of the clouds with sorrowful faces.

Why don't you come be with us?

We miss you.

But we will flip our tails at them and dive underwater.

We'll say,

Nothing hurts.

It's wonderful.

KP 4/00