swimming lessons

the day slips into the water as a salamander
& i walk barefoot. i learned to swim from watching minnows.
they move now between my fingers like ghost lungs.
i am learning how to breathe stone. i shape shift 
only when no one else can see me. a heron. a headless deer.
listening to the water's ancient tongue. on my back
i let the river take me. become the water strider.
my legs like pylons. i hear the cell phone conversations
of dead lanternflies. they say, "this is a dying place."
to live in the world now is to feel the world pulling back.
gums & grit. i find a river monster to talk to.
he comforts me. tells me, "it is right to be afraid." 

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