Whitewater Dive - Poem by Jenne Kaivo
Gravity pulled in the typical way
At a foot that ought not have been bare.
The mountain-goat stones do not hold to their own,
As slick things quite like to let go.
The pool down beneath is your world.
Shall you slither inside? Well, you should
As it seems to believe-if slowed
To a slide, most graceful would be
Your descent to the water like cream.
Like a sweet cappuccino with full-fatted milk
Like this morning went cold
As you stared at the screen
Which is dimming and has been for days.
Everything’s silt-water hue but you cannot
Pay rent, let alone get things renewed-
And only half done with that twenty-page paper.
Likes dancing ’till sunrise
Come up from Virginia just six months ago.
In childhood chose to go barefoot for always,
Your parents protested but yet the kick lasted
‘til Sophomore summer, your grades giving honor,
The Yukon allowed you inside for a several-week class
Free of charge to the family
And one morning, early, the permafrost lawn
Held you fast in its dew.
Before that an infancy
Filled with detective
Crawled in the hall like a dinosaur would one fine birthday-
Blackberry stains sticking fat little fingers and faces-
Halloween, third grade, sicking up
On your desk and the cereal-killer
That faced you, little girls in what claimed to be cat-suits
Just leotards, bowties and cotton-filled tails, Lord but those irked you,
And the puke was quite nearly pure water,
With foam on, the grain
Of what passed for wood-pattern shone through it
Though muddled, and look at those swirls
Below. And the stones look so smooth-
That glint, could it be
That the steelhead are running?
Yes, and so thick one can land
On their backs and be carried
Quite gently to where rocks
Curve out in a flat little basin and so
The stream calms from its fury.
The sort of place you could catch tadpoles.
The week you went camping and every night as you lay
Hard on the gravel, eyes fastened
As shut as they could be, the polliwogs
Wriggled at the place in the darkness
Where you could not focus-
In the middle of class just as firm
As you could you envisioned
A tree but you could not quite
Bring it to view.
Why would the mind’s eye disappoint? That wasn’t
How after-school specials
Proclaimed that imagining worked.
Learning the lesson
Of swan-dive in swimming, your Senior-year
Extra-cirric. But now you will outstrip the swan
And stay down there as long as a cormorant could,
Likely longer. Your bones
Will house guppies like those tiny castles
Ceramic in the old
Chinese restaurant, so lovely,
The napkins embroidered with dragons,
Your mother and father with faces romantically
Glowing, and breaking the cookie but finding no fortune
Though the trout was delicious and filled you
A warm sort of way.
Your early days down by the pond
As you flopped on your belly and the water stung sharply
But not quite as sharply
As you assume the stones looming up will,
And your splash goes unheeded in water that whirls and you think
Of a strawberry daquiri stirred by a stick….
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