The gravity of the water enfolds me like a warm death
as I sprint the last four laps to cap the night’s swim.
From below, the surface is a window pane that protects
and holds the swimmer in an underworld from the bullets
of rain that shatter against the clear plane.
Every muscle in my body aches for rest, for stillness.
My mouth grasps for air from one stroke to the next.
My lungs are about to collapse in the next heartbeat.
This is how my father must have felt
as they pulled the breathing tube from his mouth,
as he gasped for air and fought with every muscle
of his body to live till the next heartbeat,
to suck in the next precious breath.
He fought for an hour, and through the whole time
I was thinking: This is a mistake; he isn’t dead.
But it was already too late. I had given my consent
when the medical resident pulled me aside
and informed me my father was dead
and was only breathing because of the machine.