i was fifteen when i experienced
the most peaceful,
comfort-inducing moment of my life.
it was in the middle of a thunderstorm,
in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

i was swimming.
i broke into an indoor pool
with nothing but a butter knife
and the largest smile my face could produce.
protected by glass walls,
naiveté and youth.

it was a light show outside
accompanied by violent claps
and splintered rains.
the persuasive winds
threatened to shatter my palace
and shower me with glass.

yet, i felt completely safe.
nothing wails peace more than
feeling safe in a thunderstorm,
swimming in waters warmed with–
warmed with–
lacking the refined sensitivity to be aware of nirvana,
warmed with ignorance.

ten years later, i’m still swimming.
the storm never stopped
and the glass walls have given out.
the water bites my bones,
it’s so fucking cold,
and the light show has grown selfish.

i’m swimming and i’m swimming,
surrounded by buoys and floats
painted with faces of familiars.
i can never seem to reach them.

but i’m not alone.
there are bodies floating all around me.
they’ve either drowned,
or are letting the storm dictate their movement.
i’m not sure that there’s a difference.

all i know is that it’s easier to swim,
when i pretend the thunder
is clapping for me
and that the lightning
is lighting my way.

it’s easier to swim when
i know i’m being cradled
by the waves
and that the rain is dropping
love notes all around me.

it’s easier to swim when
i know the glass walls
were in my head all along,
and that i can swim peacefully
if i want.


©Steven Cuenca

7 thoughts on “Swimming

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