Swimming Lessons


having almost drowned in
seductive, opaque pools of
toxic relationships
hidden within
jungles of codependency
I feared I could no longer swim

desperate for a way out
I stumbled through
dark thickets of uncertainty
found an icy
river of avoidance
donned a fear preserver
plunged in and
floated downstream past
missed opportunities

until one day
the forest released its grip
my river of avoidance ended
and I met


your soul was the tropical sea
your laughter, birdsong and breezes
your eyes, two coral lagoons
where innocent creeks
mixed with naughty saltwaters

you beckoned me to
abandon my fearjacket
open my eyes and heart
and dive, naked
into your happy waters

buoyed by your optimism
floating upon your love
you taught me
the back stroke
breast stroke
and butterfly

– Paul Raworth Bennett


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