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14 September 2012

You drowned as a child


you drowned as a child
gone in my momentary absence
yet i see your end in my mind

such perfect blue that day, water so safe
saturated clean, chlorinated with Science

i suspect the surface rippled
your feeble attempts a
bob atop your end, a corked bottle
as if you were made of some other substance
than what sprang from my most earnest effort

i see your head, i see your face
breaching that blurry plane
blowing, inhaling
frantic even to the indifferent silence
the unseeable, inattentive air overhead
that precious breath you were, by degrees
denied

i count the times i think you fought
the sodden sink set in your feet
in your eyes i see fear
the uncertainty, shock, surprise -
life was fair, full of love and friendship,
family, the strength of a father -
and then all these abruptly left you
to struggle alone against a foe
you did not know


there at the end
i fear most that panic and dread dissipated
leaving only a dull befuddlement
a new wound of belated insight
to find that life was cruel

from this i had protected you
hid it from your curious gaze
but you discovered it on your own
as do we all.