the falls

in the rearview mirror
i see it was a gift
an impromptu roadside picnic
a rendezvous along a fast-flowing river

we slip into a raft, built for two, gently floating,
taking turns describing what we see, feel/who we are/
entering rapids, our hearts racing, ceaseless throbbing/
then paddling furiously, having to steer/
and suddenly, the fear

nearsighted, you caught a life ring, rescuing yourself on a familiar and safe shore/
i stayed aboard and roared toward the falls
extending the ride, the adventure, the hope of it, all/
forcefully plummeting and suddenly submerged into dark and powerful waters


i know that true alchemy is in the almost-drowning, in the delirium of breathing in only love and pain and rage, in the near-death/ i’d done it before, feeling it, all/

i know that nothing feels like those first breaths
after struggling to the surface, those gasps of air, birth-like/

i know that nothing smells like the first scent of raw earth, facedown, crawling onto shore/

i know that nothing soothes like the heat from warm, round beach stones on my my body with every slow inch back into sunlight/

this is a different kind of racing of the heart

a new foothold on land/
treasures in my matted and tangled crown that can’t be extricated or explained by anyone but me/ gold nuggets from my solo, deep-dive still clenched in my hand/
the liquidity of lust, love and loss coughed up from my lungs into my favorite cup for me to draw from again and again

— or spit down the drain

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