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Burning beacon,
lighthouse of my soul on
love’s deceitful shore,
you lead me to safe harbor
shining your column of light
crucial seconds before
the violent waves could
take my craft and
smash it against the cliff.
If you hadn’t made your
warning sound that night,
they would have found
my corpse among the rocks
the next morning,
mangled beyond recognition.

But as it happens
not rarely,
after a great story of surviving,
after recounting
the slipping past,
the slipping through,
the slipping under
the claws of the odds that
would have comprised all of
death and life,
if it weren’t for that light,
one confuses the rescued
from the rescuer.
What was the deep?
Whom did it threaten?
What really happened out there?
Was I really the one who
swam all those miles to be
almost swallowed by the tide,
or didn’t I dive into
the navel of danger
to grab your hand and
pull you out?
Didn’t I watch you
almost drown and didn’t I
bring you back with
my powerful hands pounding on
your barely beating heart,
or did you lay me
on the sand, unconscious,
give me the kiss of life
and blow air back
into my lungs?

My memories and yours
are a blur. We only woke up
that blessed morning
on that bed,
with our mortal limbs lethargic
and still bearing the moving
hand prints of the waves,
clutching at each other
for dear life, as if
we could keep everything,
even the ocean, at bay.
I remember only
needing to hold on to you
in order to live.
I remember the light I tried
with all that remained of
my strength, to move closer to.
And your arms are where
the light took me.
I’m safe now,
and so are you.

“Brad & Amber at Baker Beach in San Francisco” by photographer Tiffany Atlas