“It’s Easy to Drown” by Kelly DuMar

A riptide’s a river of sea you can’t see
nonchalantly, standing in breakers 

up to your waist, it sweeps you fast far—
whoever you are—a few feet per second 

away. A tide takes what it wants. Even you two—
young men. You can’t wrestle a rip, 

it’ll kill you. It’s easy to drown if you panic—
of course you panic, crawling and flailing—

Now he leaps up, my husband’s
—swimming toward you. God no—

he’s not a lifeguard—only king of a sand castle
with kids eating chips from our picnic. My breath

puffs to panic. It’s true, what they say—memory swifts.
Ours for one heavenly second; every dead-

weighted minute all yours.

Super powered—in the grip of his prime
he’s pushing and shoving—first you and you too

out of your rip
back to shore where we are.

You stumble for land, 
we don’t cheer. Waves break 

but we’re hushed. 

Your salted cheeks are red-scalded. 
You look down at your towels. 

Our kids look around for dropped shovels and pails. 
I wave but the sun’s blinding his eyes, we can’t touch—

he’s not mortal yet.

Kelly DuMar is a poet, playwright and workshop facilitator from Boston. She’s author of three poetry chapbooks, ‘girl in tree bark’ (Nixes Mate, 2019), ‘Tree of the Apple,’ (Two of Cups Press), and ‘All These Cures,’ (Lit House Press). Her poems, prose and photos are published in many literary journals including Bellevue Literary Review, Tupelo Quarterly, Crab Fat, Storm Cellar, Corium & Tiferet. Kelly serves on the Board of the International Women’s Writing Guild (IWWG), and produces the Bi-Monthly Open Mic Writer Series attended by women worldwide. She blogs her daily nature photos & creative writing at kellydumar.com/blog