Survival

I have navigated the rapids
The tumbling thrumbling
frothing foaming
raging rapids of reproach
paddling hard
bladed oar twisting dipping
first right then left
(You are to blame, I am to blame)

I have twirled
in endless eddies of self-doubt
(I am no good)
Leaning far forward to escape

I have scraped myself raw
on ragged rocks of regrets
(I could have should have done better)

I have bumped thumped
into black boulders of despair
(Nothing again will ever be good)

I have bloodied myself
on sharp-edged rage ledges
(You, you, damn you, hurt me)

More than once I capsized
panicked trapped in my kayak
blinded I sucked in hard water
until
digging deep
I remember the hip thrust
the precise paddle turn
to roll upright

I survived my waterfall of grief
when
breathless
out of control
I plummeted
through cascades of tears
submerged in mourning
twisting turning head over if onlys
I breathed the bitter waters of my despair
Bottomed on blind boulders of no more


Battered, bruised, confused
I had no choice but to find
my fragile tough kayak skin
climb back in
and go on

Now I drift through quiet waters
content with the murmuring current
carrying me through tree-lined lowlands
large leaved shrubs dark chocolate alluvial soil

My shoulders still ache
My scabs peel sometimes, and bleed
When the sun is hot, I burn
My paddle lies across my lap
ready
The weather could turn stormy
Open waters strong surf could lie ahead
But for now I drowse and drift
Content to have survived.

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