Lifejacket | Tracy Steinhandler


If I were to slide off the side of this boat

as it skids on the face of our shimmering lake

or rocks in a shade-dappled cove as you fish,


would I ruin the ripples, create my own circles

and swim with the small ones you catch and release?

Would I float on the surface,


caressed by the waves stretching out between banks like opaque textured glass

or sink like the anchor attached to the rope and

stick in the muck while other boats pass?


Whispers nudge dank algae along the lazy, living currents

and force the trees to bend, beckon;

I wonder if you

soiled, though still sturdy,

baked to a faded orange by the pummeling sun

will really keep me from drowning.