A Primer for Swimming at Black Point

The bottom drops off quickly
and you’re in over your head
among the crosscurrents,
the floating sea plants.
This is where to swim, though,
if you can, the water cold enough
to stir in you what’s sleeping,
the fir trees on the other side
grand and achievable.
          Just think of your fear
as alertness, and be happy for it.
Without fear it’s often tempting
to believe the water cares
about you; in its movement
your mother’s voice.
Consider getting out then.
It will never tell you
this intimacy cannot go on.
          And when you get out
there’ll be no evidence
you were ever in, just a
tingling, an aliveness
that hints insurrection
in the deepest parts of you,
and it too will pass.
Don’t expect to know more
than your body has absorbed.

—Stephen Dunn