Middle Pool

From In the Words Of the River

All words except title transcribed from garbage pulled out of the swimming hole in

Flatrock, Newfoundland.

Middle Pool, Where We Submerge Three Times Like the Mikvah

Let’s go to the water and get clean.

That slow cold current,

just before it all falls into the sea.

There. Let’s tip forward

and go under.

First time for the body: that chill,

that simple sport of returning to the skin.

Again for the mind.

You who decided to let yourself

be curious—let’s bypass thinking.

Let’s quit the facts for a while.

Let’s risk our leading brand sunlight,

our pasteurized chances of having it all,

to tip, to turn, to twist open

under water.

One more time

for that which is wild in each of us,

the simple particles of being

removed from the packaging

of thirst and hope.

After, you are clean as dishes.

Your skin sparkling cold.

Inside, what could be

a small window opening. No,

less than that. Light comes in

as if through a straw.

And what is this?

This small I’m sorry

in one palm. And

it was not you

in the other.

Say it to yourself. Say it

to your face, your throat—

I’m sorry—say it where it hurts.

Say it for your gentle hands

when you did not know

to be a fighter. For all the things

you could not say. Or,

calculating costs, did not.

Allez go! Get it in your eyes,

in your hair, on your all-possible skin.

Know this, breathe it, if only for these wet seconds.

Go under and under and under;

return again and again and again.

Break the seal on the brilliant verb of your body.

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