I used to swim far out,
watching the world work, sad
for my uncertainty, but a sun
on my back, good mornings
past my decision, tired night
--and good thing no one told me
what was ahead, the ten years to come,
the golden moments early and in between,
the dark spill of nails on the garage floor,
the oil slick in the shadow, the black
reflection of shrill teenage ambition,
the middle range of blues distortion,
pale smile in daylight, always something new

I'd swim over the coral and brine, through the breakers
and out of earshot, battered by the motion, held
in that caress, locked to the bones of oblivion,
tracing the contour of decibel's swell, ahead of you.

I want to swim there again, in the heat and sweat
of saltwater and the desert cool of Earth's turning in
for good. Sleep in the feedback of a forgotten amplifier,
surrender to the slumbering simplifier of quiet.

I don't swim today, the inland meander of structure,
tired age of deflation, proud rare color of new reflection.
The ocean is far, the lake is cold, the river is high.
Buoyancy is not an option. Besides, what would I wear?

 

- Andrew Early