swim

when i was a kid, i loved swimming

going fasterfasterfaster, feeling the water part around me

like a god

a good daughter

a proper lady

.

so i learned frontstroke, and backcrawl

and even tried to pick up butterfly

but i couldn’t

my tissue paper body ripping at the seams

i still try it sometimes, out of habit

’cause you would have been so happy

.

when i was a kid, i realized

there was no warning sign i could not dismiss

false confidence and forced bravado

i was born for this

.

to cry on camera

’cause i can make misery look gorgeous

straighten my hair

and shatter my life like stained glass

and get drunk on my own tragedy

.

so i swum down to rock bottom

and stayed there ’til my lungs burned

i remember how i learned to worship the pain

and grab bricks from the bottom

drag them up with feeble kicks

of little feet

.

remember thinking to myself, on a bad day

that if i could just stay under the water

i’d be happy

with the tin-foil silence

that always felt like home

.

and i stopped swimming years ago

but sometimes, that feeling still slams into me

’cause i’m drowning

in the 40-hour workweek

the thrumming pressure

of it all

building up in my throat

.

i rinse off the chlorine

in an echoey changing room

and i don’t let my fears show

refresh my notifications

grab my backpack, and go home

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