In Exordium

I picture you — a deep sea diver:
an ocean astronaut, 
still soft and formless,
floating in the darkness of the deep.
 
You are anchored by a thread
through which I am divided into single cells, 
dissolved into blood and fluid,
cycled then recycled in a quiet conversation 
of breath and pulse, of water and air.
 
You skim under my fingers
like movement across the surface of water,
You fill me full to cracking.

Then something shifts. 
Tectonic plates.
The soft stirring of silt and sediment. 
The subtle warning of receding water. 
 
You slow-dive your way to the surface. 
Pain comes in currents.
I survive in the air pockets,
in the stillness, 
in the spaces in between.
 
My body mutinies,
expands and contracts to the rhythm of its own ancient muscle memory, 
clenching and releasing like a fist, 
clamping down around me like a mouth.
 
I’m dragged down beneath the surface
into the rushing silence, 
where there is nothing 
but the weight of water 
and the absence of air.
 
I panic in the undertow, 
push against the pull 
until I am worn down 
like the surface of a smooth stone.
 
I can’t tell where the surface is 
or where the water ends and I begin. 
So, I just let go and breathe in.
 
My body clings to you
like a quickly sinking ship.
You hover for a moment
 — a spirit on the water.
I push you towards the surface. 
You emerge wet and glistening:
a diver rising from the deep.
 
I give you your name as you gasp — cord cut,
resting on my stomach like a survivor from the sea. 
I watch as you fill yourself with air and pulse and life.

You are as whole and complete as a full day,
as separate from me as morning from evening.
My body — formless and empty as the earth — 
before God divided it into land, sky and sea
and called it good.

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