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Water Lessons

Today's poem is Water Lessons by Alicia Goldblatt. It is read by Samaa Abdurraqib.

Water Lessons

Because it’s everywhere that he can hear the song of god, I know I’ve learned to live.

My son’s stroke can sure churn some stories, pull-buoy a figure eight, an infinity of joy.

This evening, I'm a poolside therapist for a woman whose able child thrashes past.

She is wrung out, husband distant, her basement a river that he ignores.
And none of her children have taught her to swim, circle seeding, no long breath holding.

If ever someone could be drowning on land, she has nearly gone under,
when community can't be found and books have lost their appeal
and she tells a stranger that her son has no friends,
her colleagues won't keep the classroom prize-shop stocked,
she can't bring a book to the pool for fear it will get soaked,
and the school system is flooded with rough and tumble types.

This drink flames with its chlorine of combat, and the pool-chatter aches with echo.
Words can't shore her well enough.

Buoyancy be damned,
You, my love, are the great equalizer, eyes just above the high water mark.

Fluid is the mother who sits on the sidelines.