#Wayback Wednesday: a #haibun from .@ImageCurve about a parent’s worst nightmare…

Atlantic Alternatives 

In another life, I’m too late.

My son Frankie and his cousin Mia swim out too far. The waves at Robert Moses State Park swallow them. I cry out. They can’t hear me. I rush into the water, grab Mia’s hand. Frankie slips away from me, caught in the relentless riptide.

In another life, the lifeguards somehow retrieve him. They lay him on the sand. Perform CPR. But I see his face is swollen, and blue. His chest rises and falls with each lifeguard’s saving exhale—and only with each exhale. Mira collapses next to Frankie, screaming his name, her tears staining the sand. The guards work until a supervisor—a paramedic—calls it.

In another life, my son lies in a pearl casket. I shudder and fall to my knees. Crying so loudly that no one dares touch me. Cries my son never hears.

In another life, I’m too late.

But not in this one.

Crushing high tide
My arm surrounding my son
Pulling him ashore

First published in Image Curve


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