crashing and swirling around me
the tortuous undulation
wringing every breath
washing away every memory

culling the little life left

from these cold gray waves
through the surging and billowing
of those white horses
a terrible tearing
he pulled me – wrenched me
from the coffinous cover of obscurity
I had in weary refuge sought
fighting against the rush that
protecting me – punishing me
delivered me and drowned me
in the battle of every breath

and he brought me back to myself

past the little girl
blood almost black
wet on the wisps of her silky auburn hair
red where it splattered over her sun-kissed skin
decorating her small swim suit
with tiny crimson flowers – maybe marigolds
and finally a sickish brown
as it spread beneath her
where she lay lifeless
there on the gray cracked concrete
as on a drying canvas
a few tiny stones embedded in her soft cheek

I so wanted to brush away

past the girl who sat hungry and hollow
shivering in the cruel cold that stung her flesh
never numbing mind or memory
grayish-greenish-bluish eyes
that would be beautiful but for their lack of life
set deep in her dirt-streaked blood spattered face
leaves tangled in her muddled mop of unruly red hair
as she watched and waited
half hiding under the abandoned bridge
that was now her harbor and home
from the malignant menace of those who had hurt her
from those who willingly would
now she knew the truth – not all monsters were misunderstood
the bruises on her skin would heal – they always did
the arrant rift inside her – was not so forgiving
dismissing her sorrows and surmising simply
that they were part of her penance
she stood alone in limbo waiting her turn
wishing that she had taken the place on that concrete canvas

never to be forgotten

past the girl who lay bruised and beaten
clothes torn – with the filthy sweat of some savage
thick on her tender skin
not feeling the cold of the gray cracked concrete beneath
and her russet hair splayed across the floor
strewn like spirals of spreading blood
swimming in and out of consciousness
sick with the odious stench he had left behind
that would never wash away
slowly she stood and set out for home
clutching the soiled sweater around her
that just yesterday she had been so excited to find
perfectly matching the cobalt coloured flowers
printed on her new skirt
now randomly redecorated
with tiny crimson flowers – maybe marigolds
not noticing that it now too matched
the bluish-purple markings
mercilessly mottling her sullied skin
she wound the sweater tightly
a cocoon to cover her shame

lost so far inside with no tears left for herself

on and on he pulled
past each and every blood painted picture
so much pain to thresh through
never fathoming the futility
as he tried to force life
into a tired and tortured body
that had already long been dead…

heroes never stop to ask
whether we want to be saved



19 Responses to Drowning

  1. Anonymous says:

    whew…those last two lines almost knocked my breath out…what a harrowing tale the near drowning and the flashback to being sexually violated…ugh…my heart was strained…you def had your finger on the emotional line and were plucking that heart string…

    • Thank you, Brian… it’s so hard to know how poeple will react when you share something so tragic… setting the scene and wanting them to feel the despair, the torment – I am glad it moved you.

  2. hedge witch says:

    Amazing detail and image, almost photographic, yet part of the narrator remains separate, hovering over the events with the distance that they must have to be seen clearly. Being saved here sounds like a long fretful convalescence from a near-terminal illness where one has already surrendered to death, been worn down by it, and doesn’t want to have to do all that work of letting go all over again–but that’s part of healing, of stepping beyond the past. This is a splendid work of realism (and poetry, ) one with which I identify personally and that therefor horrifies all the more. Sometimes it’s as much the part of a hero to allow oneself to be saved. Thank you for writing about a subject so buried, so difficult, that I’ve circled and avoided many times in my own work, with directness, clarity and unerring bravery.

    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I like your analogy. It seems to fit. This was a very difficult piece to write, but it had to be released. As you say, all part of the healing, stepping beyond the past. When one faces their demons and allows the horror to wash over and wash away, feeling the pain, the sorrow, the forgiveness – one can then be open to feeling love, compassion – and most importantly hope. Hope for a future filled with possibility and light. I wish you well with your own journey and look forward to sharing a glimpse into your own poetic heart. : )

  3. Jeff YIWrite says:

    Your words, brutal drumbeats, banging out a harrowing struggle done with a raging rhythm that though they come close, may never say completely what is in you. But it is the toil of the poet to get it out, to keep trying to get it out.

    You have composed a profound piece — profound in having us who have never known such anguish, feel it too. It has a lingering effect on me.

    Keep writing.

  4. These were VERY moving words. I can see the whole disgusting, torturous scene in my mind. I wish little girls (and boys) never experienced such things.

    Here’s my contribution to Open Link night this week: Not-So-Super Supercomputers.

  5. Asunkissedlife says:

    Sad and so powerful. An emotional piece.

  6. claudia says:

    oh my – powerful and tragic with exquisite use of details, painted in visible colors…

  7. very emotional…deep…painful, yet powerful…great ending

  8. Alan Carroll says:

    Powerful words which evoke dark and stark images, thanks for sharing this piece 🙂

  9. Niki says:

    I find this agonizing to read. Your writing is painfully beautiful.

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