The swimmer was master
of skills in the water,
had strength for each stroke,
control of lungs to breathe,
knew the moment that was not defeat,
but the knowing when to leave.
No, he would not drown,
he could not choke.
The ocean his play ground,
like when a child,
he ran through a wood,
and life was good. It was a lark.
No one would tell him otherwise.
Left his wife and his house,
his son and his daughter,
swam out once again,
to be free in the water.
Though the waves
seemed to stretch forever more,
at the right time, he followed them,
back to the shore.
He turned his head, to see a fin
that he knew could be that of a shark.
Like a black blade, it cut a ruthless line.
Fear tingled his skin.
Maybe it was goodbye to the rose,
farewell to the wine.
Still rational, his brain told him,
it could be that of a friendly dolphin
or a whale.
Outside his rescue hut,
he told the coast guard his tale.
Even when magnified, through his binoculars,
the ocean showed no fin,
till he wondered did it swim outside of him
or from within?
Maybe there was nothing there at all.
It was just fatigue.
And he thought that if you
do not believe there is something
to look up to that is fine and high,
you cannot grieve if you feel you fall.
And that night, the swimmer lay in the dark,
he saw the waves stretch out,
and on the horizon, for a moment,
the fin of a shark.
Though his life on land was not a disaster,
when it got slow, he got faster,
when it got bright, he grew dimmer.
No, on the ocean was better,
simple for the swimmer.