The DMQ Review

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Bob Dornberg 2003

Fear of Floating

I can’t float. It is because I do not trust the water.
I seize it in both hands, wrestle it, refuse to let it
bear me; my early histories reflect themselves
with shallows I mistook for depths, depths I had
escaped from, almost having drowned. My history’s
not only water-logged — I seize the sandy moment
in my hands as well, before it sifts away. The beach
is mine to lie upon, spread-eagled, catching sun,
while giggling waves roll up and snatch the sand
from under me, tempting me back in to try again.

I tell my tales not buoyed by my plot or characters,
but by my mind’s drive, cadence, seizing story line
in both hands, trusting nothing, no one, not the audience,
protagonist, the tale itself, nor its projections as I sail
it forth to join the world, never certain it’s caulked
tight enough, sea-worthy — crafted, yet prepared for
doldrums, blows. How shall I learn? I’ve practiced
with my lovers, seized them with both hands, often
borne aloft, yet never part of that which bears my
weight, the quiet strength of that which lies beneath.

There’s something huge at stake for me, else
how explain the constant launch, the plunge,
inviting water, love, to have its way with me
before I seize it in my steely hands.

Earl Coleman
Copyright 2003

Earl Coleman After a lengthy career as a publisher he turned to writing full time about ten years ago and has been widely published, with two stories nominated for Pushcarts XXIII and XXVII and one story nominated for the series Best American Short Stories. His book of poetry, A Stubborn Pine in a Stiff Wind (Mellen Poetry Press) was published in 2001.

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