Wading In

By Maurice English

Later – but soon, now, soon –
No matter for my terror, my whole dread,
A darkest hour of darkness will close down,
A midnight midnight, when I’ll strip
To my diminished self, and wading in,
Yield to the suck of sand between my toes,
To the swirl that laps
Against my shin,
Indifferently seeking, feel the wind
That, scentless, blows to me from anywhere,
Indifferently tender; know the tide
Swell up – so wombs swell – then
Slide back, swell up again,
Its spray no longer glinting in that dark,
Indifferently washing at my flesh;
Then quailing feel
The firm preemption of the undertow
Indifferently grasp me, levering
The knees to buckle under as
The wide enormous combers wallowing
And whelming, drag me down,
Indifferently urgent, out of time
As even darkness is annulled
And blindness blinded, and
Indifferently cancelled is my voice
That whispers up to nothing as the whole
Enormous warp of water swings me out:
I have struck my fist upon this roiling ocean
    And made it ring like bronze.


Reproduced with permission of Helen Drutt English.