Yesterday you almost drowned
When you dropped eggs in the supermarket.
You crouched picking at broken shells,
Feeling the weight of stares and seawater,
The undertow sweeping you into open ocean.
The automatic doors closed and you ran,
Clutching tight to cheap plastic bags
Until your return to dry land.

Or last week ordering fast food and stuttering
And suddenly the store was waterlogged,
Everything tsunamic and blue-bolted.
You pitched your head above the brine and gasped,
Until the person behind you tapped your shoulder
To let you know they wanted to order
So you apologized and scuttled off.

And you can only imagine the next courtesy email,
Some company’s red-stamped polite disgust,
So the harbor wave invites itself in.
You float submerged in darkness for a while,
A gut-level feeling of infinite sinking,
Beyond the bottom of the Marianas
Until you’ve forgotten the taste of air.
Suddenly every laugh is about you,
Each chuckle another crack in your oxygen tank,
Your helmet taking sea and your feet taking barnacles.

Every time it hits it leaves you beached,
A dirt-glass bottle with no message inside.
You lay punch-drunk on the sand
Staring deeply into the sun,
Then later that night while bathing
You thrust your head into the stale tub water
And try to teach yourself to breathe.

Michael Vedder is a senior studying Applied Mathematics and Mathematics (and always willing to explain the difference). His hobbies include writing, video games, and playing the piano. He is from Phoenix, Arizona, and doesn’t know why he hasn’t succumbed to hypothermia yet.