What Poetry Once Was

It is like being held under

A glacial-thick layer of ice,

And there is only a lip level of pure air to breathe deep.

I am choking in gasps

of chest-tightening-cold water.

I struggle to time the arm movements that keep me afloat

And the breaths that keep me alive.

It is hard not to panic.

If only I could push through.
If only I could chip through.
If only I could be away from here.

Here I am lonely and here I am frightened.

Perhaps if I’d never known the brilliance of sunshine bathing my brown skin browner,

Or the sensation of hands firmly moving over my body;

Perhaps if I’d never known pleasure,

I would not be so deeply distraught here

In this cold.

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