You step off the edge of a pool, a springboard, a cliff,
a world, into the brief, lingering drop through the air, absence
then presence in the splash and broken liquid skin, the blue nano-second
in- and out-ness before the materiality of water,
the disturbance, the slap, lap, leap and splash of it, the settlement,
the elastic, amniotic embrace of it and in the sinking
and slowing, the push, pull, float and hold, you understand
displacement and Newton’s first, second and third laws, in those
spherical bubbles making for the surface you think you might
define the other and the self, in the ripple and run
and fall of water down the length of your side, in the pressure
and pitch, the slip, sweep, swell and wash, in the motion and mass,
the catch, thrust, heave, lift and roll of arm, in that rare moment,
you know what it is to be a fish. Or a lion. Or a bird.
It’s like those last shuddering seconds of love before the lag
and the drag and the inkling of what entropy might possibly be.

from Uncommon Light (River Road Press, 2007), Brook Emery 2007, used by permission of the author and River Road Press

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