i never understood the mechanics
of the sky
or the moon

or why i thrive in the fog
and often hide from the sun.

i learned to swim in the ocean.

as the story goes, i was about one when my mom took me to the
neighborhood pool for the mommy and me swim class.
the teacher lined up the new mothers on the side of the pool and
instructed they chuck their babies in the water on the count of three.

we were gone by two.
that was my one and only swimming lesson.

my dad started taking me out to the sea daily after that.
the waves scared me.
i was not one of those fearless kids
who threw themselves into the water with wild abandon.

i was taught the dangers of the sea
early on.
i knew all about rip currents

and then there was
that summer that a body washed
up on shore-

i never saw anything but it was on the news and you
could see our cottage in the background.
the woman was on vacation from new jersey.
she had a husband
and two young daughters and they were all there when it happened.

that was the same summer that i was at a friends house
when his parents let me and the other kids go swimming
while all the grown-ups drank margaritas on the deck.

i wondered how long it would take
one of the adults to discover that a kid was missing
while i sat on the beach and counted heads the
whole time.

my relationship
with the sea
will always be complicated

and i don’t know what
it feels like to live away
from it for very long.

maybe i will find new wells,
new sources of life.

i do not know.

brave is just a silly little word.

i am small
and uncertain

curious and
fine,

…still very much looking
for any sign
of life.

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