I chop the water with my hands, but I can’t divide
the space between us quickly enough. I’m twenty-
six and D., my older brother, is half the shoreline
ahead of me. I want to swim it with him, show him
I’m OK, like him, I’m somehow surviving adulthood.
But my girlish muscles, my rabbit heart, my own
loneliness betray me. His smooth, brown arms
slice the water like he’s some kind of Moses
as I drown in my own wake. He looks back, yells,
You don’t have to finish this. A kind of mercy,
but I’m sure he just wants to be alone. So I walk
along the shore searching for some worn
Coke glass or other broken thing. But there’s only
these imported gray rocks and like them
I don’t belong. Before, on the other side,
where the big rocks rim that sky-blue mirror, D.
and our little brother, M., were cannonballing,
sinking a ways down so that it took a bit
for their black heads to bob back up. I’d clung
to the side because I’d heard of a vortex
that draws swimmers into its belly. One hundred
and twenty-five feet deep, there are two towns,
ranch land, trees, cemeteries. But you’d never know
D. and I were unhappy. Each in our own way
pulled into that truth. And we hated each other
for it. Protected and loved each other for it.
Accepted it without question. Without hope.