the deep end

Our final conversation in a clear pool of warm water
where you uncharacteristically shivered,
buried at the shallow end.
for often we competed in a risky game to see which of us
could swim under the depth, holding our breath the longest.
and I had mocked , mystified,
because a sickly me had begun to win.
I took the strong arm.
wondering, questioning
while the insidious darkness
electric eelslippery across hands and chest.
who could have predicted a young heart fatigued beneath a rib cage
veiled in muscle?
‘my stomach hurts’ you wavered, for
that’s my line.
I cradled an ailing child
gently in caressing waters.
fearless eyes, now lowered.
widening then,
‘not too deep, don’t take me so deep,
not so deep’
the sigh of aqua lips and
the briny fragrance of infinity cuffed me.
cupped you.

I’m still holding my breath.
Someday.
I’ll breathe again.

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