into and out of
I lay in bed this morning, the world still dark.
I saw you walking into that frigid lake.
The police said your shoes were on the driver’s side floor when they released
Your car to us.
Did we want him to move them into the trunk?
So you had no shoes on then.
Were your feet bare? Why?
Would shoes not have helped you with
Your mission? Was it habit?
Or did you want to feel the softness
below your skin?
I see you there, one foot in
A shock to the body
Nerve endings sending frantic messages
To your brain
It’s too cold, abort, abort.
A hijacked brain hellbent on other
Your foot. The same foot that I used to
Press against my face when you were small
Those little feet
The crooked toe that took up
its unfair share of space.
When you were still small
The orthopaedic surgeon said
‘Why you’re such a lucky little girl!
Only the fastest runners in the world have a crooked toe like that!”
You forever believed in your superpower toe.
Into that icy water went your toes
And those feet on those powerful legs
That propelled you backwards and forwards
And into impossible turns with angles that defied
Gravity on those frozen ice pads.
My ballerina in armour.
Those legs that propelled your beautiful body
Forward. With momentum.
Forward. With drive and conviction.
You pushed through boys the size of men in
Hockey. Took them all on.
You plowed through swarms of powerful
Women in rugby. Took them all on.
You moved into that black lake, ice only
Your feet, your calves, into the water
Your knees, your thighs
Your sheer determination
Tenacity that betrayed
You wrote a poem once
It was about the moment you came
Into the world
You were so big.
Ten pounds. Six ounces.
You got stuck on the way out,
Grabbed onto my pelvis
You wrote that it would have been so
Simple for it to have all ended there
But then, you said, you would have
Missed out on the beautiful things
Missed out on holding a newborn baby in your arms
Seeing a sunset
Was that enough for you?
You came and lived for as long
As you could
Or as long as you ever were going to
Or as long as you could bear
Or as long as you wanted?
Or as long as it was preordained
You returned to the earth
Returned to the watery milieu of life
Darkness. Silence. Buoyant.
Back to the womb you entered through
Those little toes, white with the cold
Those elegant fingers
Open or closed?
The light of God
The warmth of love
With you and around you in the end
You told me so and I believe you