Trina Gaynon

Surfacing at Fourteen

Water closed over my head in New Orleans,
as I chased a beach ball into the deep end,
the bottom of the pool a mystery
my feet couldn’t reach. Lungs forgot
to fill themselves with air, in spite of the ball
rising before chlorine-stung eyes.
That summer I’d memorized
liner notes to Jesus Christ Superstar,
"I don’t know how to love him. . . ."
and from the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band,
"Winnie the Pooh doesn’t know what to do. . . ."
A stranger pulled me from the water.
Then in a bargain bin at Woolworth’s
I uncovered The Poetry of Surrealism,
Benedikt using any stroke he needed
to swim through French. He led me to suspect
that filled with words I could walk on water,
if I remembered to remain calm, to float.