I am no longer diving;
unwilling anymore to risk this
way-too-well-worn frame to sudden impact,
its old familiar pain, upon these friable, frail bones.
These days I slip into the water from the bottom
of the steps, just as, some years ago now,
I slid out from other, warmer, even friendlier waters
and filled my new-formed lungs with resonating air.
Yet, even so, this gentle, smooth transition,
this sweeping forward into instant weightlessness,
this liquid sweet caress along my dry and wrinkled flesh,
brings such relief, such sudden and complete release,
I long to hold its momentary touch forever, or at least until
tomorrow’s earliest plunge. A rehearsal – might it be? –
for that eventual putting off and pushing out
yet awaits me at the bottom of the steps.