The ones who would soak
the mother who drowned
her children in serpentine
seas never floated a child.
When splashed amongst
we too feign revulsion.
Evoke higher powers and
baptismal pools: the fluidity
in the womb. The commingled bond.
But single us out, and buoys
snare our feet as we swim for
shore. Weighted down and engulfed
with load in tow – bondage.
Not a one hasn’t considered
suffocating that incessant
whining beneath the softness
of a comforting wave or lifejacket –
has not wished we could hurl the
wailing one at a shoreline just to make it
That shrill that turns all heads at
a pool party where somehow
every 4-year-old but yours is
peacefully partaking in cake –
But yours must splash the dry.
Or don another’s pink towel.
Or dive off the high board.
Just five more minutes.
This is not a topic a mother can
bring up casually over coffee.
Too fierce for me, possibility bobs to the surface.
Since the time her sucking
rubbed my areolas raw, we’ve had
our moments – times when I could’ve
river rafted her
perhaps reclaiming her upon maturity.
I need alone time, I explain
inexplicably to the baby blues
locked on with innocent revulsion.
I have drowned her out with work,
and she notes the behavior –
will avert her own children’s guilt-
provoking glare when she
demands alone time.
Even as I type, the whine is still there,
abutting my every keystroke,
pushing my buttons until I wish to
gurgle deep and low, like a wave that comes
up crashing then subsumed by the next
and next until their edges blur.
Toni got the blues. Allowed herself
the chance to drown one out in fiction.
She was a mother after all.
Right now, a single drop at the surface
might take hold and pull me under.
Please abandon this line
before you immerse your baby
for a poem.
Coach shouts out:
Slow your stroke and focus on form…
and try to remember: breathe.
But despite that advice,
I gurgle like she did.
And then I remember