no, not dying.
dying would be better than this,
this gasping for air,
this clawing for a grip,
this panic that weighs in my bones and in my heart and in my lungs.
pulling me down,
leaving me stranded.
my throat is hoarse but i haven’t opened my mouth.
i am screaming an unheard scream
into a deep dark oblivion.
no one cares.
the second time i know what is happening.
it doesn’t make it any less terrifying.
i feel as if a hundred,
boulders are pushing me down.
and i’m flailing
i’m pushing up against them
but i can’t win.
i can never win.
and i keep this secret.
the next time and the next and the next do not feel the same.
sometimes i gasp out like the living.
sometimes i freeze up like the dead.
and i am scared.
of the lake, yes, but also
but also the threat that i will fall in to begin with.
this overwhelming, overreaching, overarching fear that holds me
is worse than the drowning itself.
i can learn to swim.
and one day,
i will never fear drowning again.