Into the Deep
(for Laurie Williams Wajima)
How to understand this water
which is holy
light catching color in her lense.
We couldn't see the beauty, were fogged through,
kicking, breathing as if forever —
We are a riot, really —
Swimming all winter, a family of swimmers
Stretching forever new, and open to the truth,
cold and amazing —
We are our own world sometimes —
and other times we are a neighborhood.
This is our street, our sisters, brothers, children.
A rainbow around us —
Laurie liked to photograph herself laughing
under water, called the pieces "giggles."
Our laughter is mercurial, I guess.
She was the most joyful swimmer I knew.
We know to bundle up after swimming when it's cold.
The thing is, Laurie was a world class swimmer,
who had epilepsy, seizures, usually at night —
so maybe every glide was a chance, a dance — even
feet are magnificant under water in her light,
even drowning could be beautiful —
not frightning or even breathless —
I can't figure out how she took this one.
She called it "My birthday."
©Susan Bright, 2006,
Photographs by Laurie Williams Wajima
Susan Bright is the author of nineteen books of poetry. She is the editor of Plain View Press which since 1975 has published one-hundred-and-fifty books. Her work as a poet, publisher, activist and educator has taken her all over the United States and abroad. Her most recent book, The Layers of Our Seeing, is a collection of poetry, photographs and essays about peace done in collaboration with photographer Alan Pogue and Middle Eastern journalist, Muna Hamzeh.
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