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Dec 2023
I swim a sea that has no shore or bottom
The North Star hides behind a cloudy sky
The winds increase with every passing moment.
The waves, once flat, are looming very high.

A jellyfish has stung me on the ankle.
My side is knotted in a painful cramp.
My arms are growing numb with endless flailing
And the clockwork of my mind has gotten damp.

Before the rust locks down all hope of thinking
I must tread salty water for a span;
Stop contemplating how I dumbly got here,
Somehow devise a working rescue plan.

Can hope be found amidst the desolation
Of knowing all the errors that I’ve made:
Believing I somehow could walk on water
It didn’t matter how my game was played.

Though I had several copies of the rule book
I never found the time to sit and read,
So I jumped in, expecting native cunning
To lift me to the top, where I would lead

Those lacking my superior perception
To places they had only dreamed about.
I’d be hailed and lauded as a savior-
Instead I only heard the fearful shout

Of those who swim behind me in an ocean
That shows no sign of coming to a beach-
That certainly will pull us down and drown us
As angry yells become a frightened screech.

The sea I swim that has no shore or bottom
Is really just my ego in disguise-
So big it blocked my vision and my hearing
Til only now, at last, I’ve heard the cries

Of hopes too waterlogged to keep on floating
Of soggy dreams that never can come true- more
Of efforts wasted training in a puddle-
Of agonizing clarity of view.

At last I’ve come to recognize this ocean.
I know what’s on the nonexistent shore.
It’s swim or sink so I keep stroking forward
Although there is no reason any more.

And though my strength is quickly disappearing,
There’s really nothing that I haven’t tried.
So I just flounder onward in my struggle
To somehow make it to the other side.

Knowing there is no one there to greet me-
Knowing there is nothing there at all-
Knowing that no miracle will save me-
No one will ever see the tears that fall

In vain attempt to expiate my folly;
To pay atonement for the things I’ve lost.
To somehow make my life not end up wasted-
To gain some value from it’s painful cost.

So left arm, right arm, kick, kick, kick.
I gain an inch and just as often lose one
The sea I swim that has no shore or bottom
Will take me with the rising of the sun.
My longest foray into rhyming.  Apologies for gloominess.
Written by
Lori Jones McCaffery  F/Laughlin, Nevada
(F/Laughlin, Nevada)   
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