I don't know how to swim


I remember the pain.

The relentless,

nauseating pain cutting through my gut

the second I mistakenly glanced his way.

I craved him   

with the senseless hope

he craved me back.

But he was beautiful,

and I was ordinary,

and when I looked at him,

he looked through me.

It was impossible

and I was desperate for his love,

I was desperate for him...

"Please.. look at me!"

I'd want to shout it at him,

I was convinced his acceptance

would make me whole.

He was the white-tipped waves,

he was the emerald sea,

and I was drowning in it.


I don't know how to swim

but I didn't mind.

I thought, I thought, I thought;

perhaps I need to stop thinking.

It felt good to be tossed around

in the unremitting waves of emotions

that surged through my veins;

a fleeting glance and I was hooked,


down into the deep depths.


I thought he would save me.


If he had the power to put me there

surely he could bring me out,

and so I delayed...

only descending deeper

he couldn't protect me now.


I cry out

“help me”,

but my words are mangled,


Each time I attempt to speak

the brackish liquid begins to invade.

I'm choking,


fading into certain blackness...


Paralyzing dread floods my brain.

This is not what I anticipated.

This is not what I dreamt it out to be.


I search for the surface

Isolated in the light of the moon

I see them.

My family.

My friends.

Teachers, co-workers, people I couldn’t seem to place;

they look troubled.


The water morphs;

I see a girl.

Ghastly pale, hollow face,

bones sticking out in all directions.

Her expression is screaming

"please help me, my light has gone out",

Until I see the fierceness in her eyes.


Is that determination?


I reach out to her.


she reaches out to me.

I put my left hand up,

she puts her right hand up;

perfectly mirroring my every motion.


My judgment is clouded,

but I can see so clearly,


She is me.


I begin to fight,

kicking against the current

that only insists on pulling me deeper.

Every muscle in my body strains.

My lungs are so close to collapsing-

the surface is so near.

My whole being threatens to implode

and then,

I break through.

I sputter, I breathe.

The air is so clean, so pure.

I’m okay,

I’m alive.


I presumed he would save me-

on the contrary-

while drowning in the ocean

and struggling for my life,

I realized;


I had to save myself.

Poetry Terms Demonstrated: 


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