awash in thoughts that stick like honey to my skin
oozing into my eyes and mouth,
the taste bitter and certain
treading in the open lake,
no salt to buoy me,
arms waiving back and forth farewell in the dark night water
i look at the moon, full and hopeful with tired eyes
aching body, panting breath
pounding, saturated mind
below is an endless deep chasm lake
carved in ancient times and filled to the brim
glacier run-off ready to swallow dead lake creatures, lures and anchors
waiting for me to cramp and sink to its ink depths of oblivion.
“why swim? you’ll never make it to shore,” IT says
“your arms are lead, you’ve been treading too long
“even floating is an effort. it’s over, just stop and come with me.”
i turn on my side to try moving away,
feeling its silken fins brush my legs and arms with fatigue.
scissor kicking, I cut at IT, to glide back, tracing my path to shore
each stroke accompanied by images of
mutual laughter around a dinner table
holding hands, arms swinging while walking in the woods
laying in a field, looking up at the sky, warm breeze on my cheeks and nose
IT whispers about tears
about betrayal and indifference
about arguments, unreached goals and failures
thankful the water in my ears muffles
the snide, jeering remarks and finger pointing.
My hand finally touches bottom and I stand up.
walking slowly through the molasses depths
from hip to thigh to calf to ankle
the rest of the way to the shore