You don’t swim

You don’t swim in a paddling pool so small your body touches its sides.
You don’t swim in your mother’s womb.
You don’t swim in those thousands of prefab pools sold by the millions in the 70s and 80s.
You swim when there aren’t edges or depth measures.
You swim in turbulence and danger.
You swim at high tide and high wind.
You swim when the waves slap and spray your face.
You swim at Hole in the Wall because the water calls you in and only afterwards read the sign that warns of the suck of the hole of death.
You swim all the way through the year and at the times when it’s much colder to be out than in (but somehow you never manage to think that one through beforehand and plan for it).
You swim with sharks and turtles (reef sharks, green turtles), head down, bum up, backing inelegantly out of coral before you get scratched.
You swim through the vertigo of depth deception.
You swim rivers and reeds and mud-sucking unders.
You learn to keep your feet up.
You learn to occupy the thin space of sunlit warmth just beneath the surface.

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