Testing the Waters

Woman testing water in wilderness lake


She tests the water and so do I,
both feeling for dangers with a toe
pretending not to see the signs
that warn of currents
and undertow

Now we’re in at the deep end
and it’s all erratic-
either we fight the tide
or go aquatic

Maybe we’ll find ourselves
effortlessly swimming
when not splashing around
some notion of winning
or maybe the current
will suck us both down
into green chambers
where we drown

And our friends, no doubt,
will mistake our shouts
for innocent horseplay
and not throw out
a line to haul us
back to shore:
mistake our struggles
for cheery waves
our flares for fireworks
and nothing more.

20th December 1998

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