Saturday, October 13, 2012

Chlorine Fear


Taken under, lungs burning,
I didn’t know death came
in chlorinated droplets.

A foot rests upon my back,
arms pulling me to the surface,
so much water mixed with tears.

My father shouts at me.
Fault dries on my skin.
He knew I couldn’t swim.

You can’t swim and you live an hour’s drive from the Gulf of Mexico?

Overcoming fear isn’t easy.
The water burns my eyes and nose.
Don’t be silly, he won’t let go of you.

Letting go, concrete scrapes my palms,
it is only five feet deep.
You can’t swim on your toes.

Fifty years old and merely a tadpole,
watching children float around me,
but I am in the middle of the pool!

I faced my water demons and found success.

It’s February and the sun feels
like a warm blanket on my skin.
I am surrounded by blue.

Fish swim across my camera lens,
their colors the confetti of a dream.
Yet dreams don’t brush across your skin.

Cozumel, I made it.
Toddling strokes in a concrete pool
freed me to swim in a Caribbean sea.


©Susie Clevenger 2012
Stuart McPherson challenged us at dVerse to write on our fears. I chose one that held me in its clutches most of my life...swimming. I remember vividly the day I was pulled from the bottom of the pool when I was a child. It so terrified me I could barely get near the water. Several years ago we were planning our first cruise to Mexico. (Yes, I was going to be in the middle of the sea on a ship.) I so didn't want to be the one who couldn't get in the water. I decided I had to learn to swim. Not only did I learn to swim, but I learned to snorkel at the same time. Quite a feat!

12 comments:

Kristina said...

Good for you for overcoming!

Brian Miller said...

nice..i have been to cozumel....wow on facing that fear of the water...i learned to swim at an early age and have always enjoyed it, but i know some that are deathly afraid of it...not easy to face your fears, but there is so much freedom to be found when we do...nice write ma'am...smiles.

hedgewitch said...

Not only did you learn to swim and snorkel, you wrote a very striking poem about it. I'd say you've got the situation under control. Hard to overcome those childhood experiences.

Sabio Lantz said...

Wow, fantastic conquering and well told.

Brian Miller said...

will keep your oldest in my prayers as well...thanks for sharing that with me...hugs

Claudia said...

wow on tackling this fear finally...must have been hard but so rewarding...you can be so proud susie

my heart's love songs said...

good for you in overcoming your fear! outstanding!

Mary said...

I can understand why the experience of almost drowning would have kept you away from water for much of your life; and I commend you for eventually facing that fear head on and mastering both swimming AND snorkeling. A heart-warming read!

Daydreamertoo said...

Bravo!~! There is nothing that frees s more than conquering that which we fear. You did so well, and now you're in the water like a fish. I feel proud of what you accomplished, for you :) :)
Great poem about it too!
Lovely.

Heaven said...

My hats off to you for overcoming your water demons and even learning to snorkel....I too know this fear but alas until now, I am not a good swimmer ~ Happy Sunday to you ~

Other Mary said...

Oh, good for you! And what a great description of your fear. I love the line, 'Fault dries on my skin.' It's hard to explain the feeling of fear to someone who isn't afraid of that particular thing, but you do it well here. And I think it's just great you overcame that fear. You rock!

poemsofhateandhope.com said...

Nothing more powerful and empowering than facing and overcoming your fears... Susie- this is TRIUMPHANT!!