I am not cold.

Instead, the hazel clouds that rise up

and settle down again, brush against my skin

like the fuzzy inside of a winter jacket.

I look up and the world is covered

with a plastic wrap,

the kind you put over unfinished meals,

and only the leftover sounds of a crying gull

make it to my eardrums so that all I can hear

are the dull thumps that drown and drown and drown

out the pounding in my head.

The aches on both sides of my chest burn

like the loss of a loved one,

the flames smothered at first,

but the embers there,

until all at once,

it catches

and scorches


then I burst free from the water

and it hurts like after a hard day’s work,

drawing in breath after breath,

thirsty for a drink.

I am surprised at the wetness on my skin.