I’ve been hit by this wave before.
I recall its winter waters, the icy chill;
how the air was knocked out of my lungs
and the sea entered
and escaped my eyes.
The first time is always the hardest.
But since then, you build a tolerance, a taste for the cold
and what it does to your nerve endings and membranes.
You lose feeling after your insides say “enough.”
And sometimes, you don’t regain that touch.
You learn to anticipate every shocking vicious blow that wills to submerge you.
You must stay calm.
Keep your body preoccupied with swimming, staying afloat.
And you don’t,
you just don’t
let yourself submerge into the dreary depths that lie underneath.
Because those depths will ask for your weakness
and assuage your surrender.
You keep moving,
in hopes that those shores
may be warmer than they were before
…wherever they are,
however long it takes to reach them.