The Essential Dive

Double-crested cormorant gold bill pointed
skyward before you dive, I’m already

missing you. Native in three realms
at least, and I’m queasy here

on the porch, just in time to heed you
knowing to go deep today, into

the fundamental roots anchoring
my mistakes. Yesterday I stretched

far past my former limits
seeking to duplicate my youth, perhaps.

In the tenuous now I’m tremulous
as the earth shifts beneath me.

I’m longing for the easy paddle
through the surface. My hunger

dissipated, dehydrated, headachy
with clouds of pain and sorrow,

even the sun brightening above
is too much, though I’m still here.

In the deep night, summoned by the
moon, I tried to see the hole

of my absence through the years,
to know my worth through casual

eyes of friends and family, immersed
in their own trials, appearing

distant in the false narrative
of separation. Listen, I know well

the claw that raked through me
unsettling to the depths I avoid

brought all this surfacing, my grip
holding the wriggling essential

truths of my existence like the morning
catch. And though I imagine letting

go, life keeps me holding on and
rising, dripping, from the dark

places, flying to the top of this
nearby tree. What feeds me emerges

infusing every molecule of stardust.
Eyes closed, I swear

a bird I’ve never heard is
chirruping, insistent, my name.

Inspired by: Duplicate, Missing, Fundamental and Native and a very hard 24 hours.