WATERLOGGED

An impasse.

I look around me and I am caught in an ocean of sympathy.

Yet, I do not soak any of it in.

I am lost at sea, forgotten as the currents pull me under.

The breath escapes from my lungs in a stream of bubbles that float to the surface, something tangible for those I’ve left behind.

Salt invades my nostrils; pressure weighs me down; the waves match my wide-open eyes.

Even as I descend, slowly, I take it all in.

A smile here, a pair of arms there.

The maze of weeds grows around me like a vise as I reach greater depths.

My mind becomes muddled from lack of oxygen, and I forget to hold my breath, to hold on to time.

I drift. I let go.

I allow my mind to disintegrate into unfathomable pieces.

Once or twice I think I see a hand stretching out to me, offering to help; I’ve lost the capacity to respond.

Without any thanks from me, they leave in a haste, their fingers stirring the surrounding water.

It takes a while for things to settle down.

I finally close my eyes, resigned to my fate.

I will never escape. (I will always be bait.)