The Swim Lesson
by Christine Adams Beckett
The left ventricle of the organ
Echoes the tremendous truth
That I am sure to die. It
Thumps an overwhelming rhythm
Of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony
In an ominous D Minor
Frighteningly foreshadowing my own demise.
Cardiovascular paths threaten to burst
From stress and shock,
The wall of water before
My outreached freckled fingers
Marks life’s border and
Promises to steal the last breath of my
Five year-old lips.
I hear no splash, but the flow of
Powerful blood to my extremities,
Now flailing above me, below me
Grasping at amniotic fluid
That has no place in my mature lungs.
Bubbles amongst the algae green
Interrupt rays of sunshine that
bleed into the curly leaf lake weeds hiding
Chlorophyll, welcoming life-sustaining light,
Strengthening its stems that
Grab and pull my sunburned feet.
Hydrogen and oxygen
Atoms that pass my burning throat
Make me crave the surface like
My adult body will crave a lover,
Food after a fast,
Drink following drought.
The right ventricle returns with a kettle
Drum in half notes. Violins whine
A hopeful response as my head reaches
Summer air. I gasp the wind and
Let out an exaltation, a rebirth of
Non-aquatic mammal to
Full fledged swimmer. I sing an Ode to Joy and
Clumsily tread the blue green water
Declaring “You millions I embrace you!
The kiss is for all the world!”