Fighting the Undertow

for Sylvia


It takes less than death
to kill one woman’s soul.
Sylvia crawled under her lovely house
to die undiscovered.
Always fighting the undertow-
is it DNA or just the everyday
that makes you let go before you
go down down, down below.

I heard you, I saw you
going down down, down below.
I couldn’t help you
because I had already been
below for so long my dear,
and was looking up at you from down below.
Always fighting the undertow.

The muck and mire and blackness
like the darkest perfect little black pearls
leave a trail of my normal existence.

How do you clean yourself
from the inside out?
Maybe if God reaches down and
scoops me up and kisses
the top of my head with light beams.
(I’ll tell him to scoop you up
and kiss you too.)
Now we can rest.
No longer fighting the undertow.

Dawnell Harrison