By Umiemah Farrukh
I know what it’s like to drown.
It’s embedded in my mind clear as day
I got shoved into the deep end by some kids at the pool
I can still hear their laughter in my head,
reveling in their cruel, beautiful joke.
I remember the splash my body made as it hit the water
how my hair flowed out around me
as the water pulled me down and filled my lungs,
my mind went black and I gasped for air
but choked on mouthfuls of salty water instead.
I know what it feels like to scream underwater,
scream and scream, until someone hears you.
Until someone registers your pain, and comes to help
I prayed that they’d find me before it was too late
I remember the panic in my limbs made me a sinking weight
As I went down,
I forgot what I’d learned in class just that day,
I finally closed my eyes and accepted my fate.
I was five then and I never went into the water again.
Too scared of not feeling my feet on solid ground.
Having to surrender to the deep blue and crashing waves
Now I’m all grown up and I feel that way again
And maybe it’s because I never learned how to swim
that I’m drowning in the deep end.
Because I was naive enough to take on the world
knowing I never learned how to swim.