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And, having drowned once before,
I’ve retold those final moments
as different stories with the same ending

once, as a cautionary tale
about how not to swallow words
to the point where there is
too little room for air

how the heart is always the first
to go in, and the body
inevitably follows

how there are places too deep
nobody can reach you
or reason with you

sometimes as images of grace
and lungs expanding into oceans
as an aria overwhelms your senses
you are unable to tell inside from out
or distinguish a pounding heartbeat
from a cresting wave, or wonder
which is the greater
proof of life

and again as a closed circle,
of death being a mirror
and how you can lose a single thing
and feel as if you were lost at sea
and watching everything
you’ve known get rewritten
before the darkness came for you

and, having once before
brokered a treaty between
merely existing and being
acutely aware of the nebula
that awakens every time
I break the surface,
I’ve taught myself to dance
on a tightrope to the sun,
to recognize that lives
are constellations and love
is the sky if the sky never
learned how to swim,
and to know when to be still
as the season of inundation
tries to find its way in.

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