The Drowning Man

The Drowning Man

In the rear-view mirror translucent fish appear in neon greens and blues.
The drowning man bows his head,
raises a hand, studies the blood seeping out from under his nails;
gas in orange and red hues.

An air bubble escapes from his nose, tickles his eyelashes as it passes.
The door handle catches his eye;
the drowning man gives it one last scornful look, tugs at his safety belt
as if a free diver caught on a hook.

The cramped Japanese sedan cabin expands, the glove compartment pops
like a flimsy treasure chest lid.
The drowning man shrinks to the size of a plastic fish tank scuba diver figurine;
his eyes are wide open, blinking.

From within the treasure chest a photograph floats into view: they’re camping
in Eden (or Yellowstone),
his two angels are on a pink tandem: Better than gold, the drowning man thinks.
They wave and pedal away.

His lungs fill up with water as a chain of bubbles rips through his nostrils;
he waves back at his angels,
but they’re too far gone, and only the seaweed waves back.
The drowning man sits quietly.

Death takes his hand; the drowning man holds it tight and laughs.
He skips and jumps in slow-mo
and whistles a tune of enthusiasm for the next chapter, and for his angels
who showed him the way.

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