When Dad would take my brother & me swimming at the secret pool during summer dusk when
the low country summer breaks, he was a fish, a rock, a skate, and an anchor.
A dive of bubbles as he released his lungs & would sit as calm & still as the bottom.
How he could hold the pose longer than a nap. My brother & I from giggles to pain, to abandon.
When he had his stroke, we were older, I was at the hospital. I saw his slack body—the calm
confused flesh. His eyes, however, were air-sparks of fear. How days & months after, he couldn’t
form the right words & had trouble with memory. I then paddled above him scared &
alone; my brother now a doctor coaching me.
He came back, often just a big inhale only to sink again. The quick joy we shared & then the
same anxious heartbeat. If life is rain & we are puddles, what are clouds?
Heaven is a concrete gritty pool covered in shade of spanish moss & pine needles & I’m laying
along aside him, finally understanding.
Learn how the water pushes us down, how we rise to breathe & choose to be angels that don’t
fly. We’re exit of breath & return. I want to know him forever.
Jeff Showalter lives in Madison, Alabama with his wife, son & daughter. He holds degrees from the United States Military Academy, the University of South Carolina and the George Washington University Law School.