your suit black as seaweed, your bearded
head slick as a seal’s.
Somebody watches the kids. I walk down the
edge of the water, clutching the towel
like a widow’s shawl around me.
None of the swimmers is just right.
Too short, too heavy, clean-shaven,
they rise out of the surf, the water
rushing down their shoulders.
Rocks stick out near shore like heads.
Kelp snakes in like a shed black suit
and I cannot find you.
My stomach begins to contract as if to
vomit salt water
when up the sand toward me comes
a man who looks very much like you,
his beard matted like beach grass, his suit
dark as a wet shell against his body.
Coming closer, he turns out
to be you – or nearly.
Once you lose someone it is never exactly
the same person who comes back.
By Sharon Olds taken from Satan Says
I had a very weird dream yesterday.
I dreamt that I was in a classroom. I think it was my primary school but I am not too sure. It was raining heavily and after a short while the water level reached the school’s third floor. I was standing near the window and saw a boy from the next class climbing out of the window. He started to run to-and-fro along the window’s extension, ignoring the dangers of falling into the water.
Anyway I yelled at him to get back in but he refused. Just then his teacher threatened to call the boy’s parents if he doen't get his ass back into the classroom immediately. In an act of defiance the boy jumped into the water followed by his teacher to rescue him. Surprisingly the boy was quite a good swimmer and swarm to safety. On the other hand his teacher seemed to have problems stay afloat.
After a while she stopped struggling and the water carried her motionless body away. All this while I just stood there, looking but not offering any help. I should have done something but I didn’t. I just stood there, watching.
Then I realized the rain had stop and the water subsided. The police came and out of guilt I rushed down to look for the officer in-charge to offer my help as I have witnessed the whole incident.
The officer told me the cause of death was not by drowning but due to the fall. Someone was crying behind me. I turned around and saw a young man in tears. The officer told me he was the boy’s elder brother. “Where is the boy?” I asked. “He has gone missing after witnessing his teacher’s death,” replied the officer.
End of dream.
It was really a weird dream.
(Window's extension: I am not sure if it is the right name but it is the extra areas just outside the window.)
“Once you lose someone it is never exactly
the same person who comes back.”
The person you are today is not exactly the person you were yesterday or who you will be tomorrow. If this is the case, who is the real ‘me’?