The Swimmer

All winter the water
   has crashed over
       the cold the cold sand. Now
           it breaks over the thin
branch of your body.
   You plunge down, you swim
       two or three strokes, you dream
           of lingering
in the luminous undertow
   but can’t; you splash
       through the bursting
           white blossoms,
the silk sheets—gasping,
   you rise and struggle
       lightward, finding your way
           through the blue ribs back
to the sun, and emerge
   as though for the first time.
       Poor fish,
           poor flesh
you can never forget.
   Once every wall was water,
       the soft strings filled
           with a perfect nourishment.
pumping your body full
   of appetite, elaborating
       your stubby bones, tucking in,
           like stars,
the seeds of restlessness
   that made you, finally,
       swim toward the world,
           kicking and shouting
but trailing a mossy darkness—
   a dream that would never breathe air
       and was hinged to your wildest joy
           like a shadow.
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