I had plunged irresponsibly into the surf, not quite believing
in the power of the tide to overtake me. Playing the no-account,
I jumped headlong with fiscal recklessness, pulling down my wife.
Discounting all the rules, I was knocked down, pounded by
the demands of bill collectors, pummeled by their phone calls
and relentless letters screaming pay what you owe, pay
what you owe, pay what you owe.
Falling and flailing, I lashed back at the onslaught
with sexual escapism as her taunting teen musk
washed over me in darkly forbidden waves. I was
grasping at my own disappearing youth. Her flat belly
and her attraction to me were as dangerous as the ocean.
Her gasps of pleasure at our stolen kisses, the sensual
greed in her glance when parting, convinced me
I was still in charge of my life.
Down I went under her spell, down under waves
of her chestnut curls--like my wife’s, but drenched
with a scent of adventure and arousal long departed.
Quickly I tired as the current dragged me down to the bottom,
the pit of my fears: my guilt. Looking back, life as I knew it
was retreating, the surface shimmering evasively far above.
Drowning, my last thought acknowledged my sins:
devastated family, ruined integrity, powerlessness.
Suddenly hope appeared, weaving like a sea vine
through the crosscurrents, an outstretched
hand I grasped hungrily, clung to numbly,
wonderingly drawn up, up into the light.
first published in Poets of The Vineyard 2002 Anthology
first published in Poets of The Vineyard
also published in BEHIND PRISON WALLS Chapbook
also published in PICTURE HEALING Chapbook
©2002 Bonnie Manion