The Drowning

Angel's Flight, Vol. 6.2 (1981)

Jodi Johnson

They said I was dead
When they pulled me from the pool,
But one fireman covered my face with his mouth
And blew
While another said to my mother
It happens all the time with young kids.

(The cord passed through the open mouth
Into red gills.
He hung suspended by the stroke of fins,
Webbed like the pale skin of a fan.
Leaning over the edge of the boat,
I saw the green twitch of his eye
And the faultless shingle of scales.
The bone of the boat-rim pressed my ribs
And I saw the blunt white bud of each tooth.)

The doctors would pronounce no verdict
Prematurely,
Prodding me with flash of needles
Into the sterile glare of lights.
I went home after four days smelling of
Clean steel and antiseptic.

(I remember
The rippled underside of the sky,
The sunlight in brown petals on my face.)


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