person underwater


I don’t care who or what burns next

Days I feel numb, you play soft music, 

We load up the jeep, and ride to the beach. 

We drive through the mountains and stop to get snacks

Then we hit traffic, then we hit more traffic.

We trade music for light hearted conversation. The gas tank is almost empty when we hit Venice, past tents of homeless people and eager tourist. 

You hold my hand gingerly as we push through the sand.

The sky is the color of copper:

A tonic of burning canyons, burning skin

As strangers lay out too close to one another.

I don’t care who or what burns next 

Only that something keeps the sky ashen, the canyons black, and my hand held. We put down our things

And continue walking towards the waves. You smile. 

I try to smile back and I squeeze your hand.

We both still have on our shirts and shoes

When the water begins climbing up our legs.

I am not afraid. But I try to be. I try to be. 

We walk until the water is over our heads, 

We could go back right now, eat the fruits and trail mix

Lodged in your backpack but you let me decide. 

We keep walking, your thumb caressing my hand

Bubbles escape your lips, maybe you’re singing,

Or choking, I can’t tell. So I start singing, joining in.

Days I feel numb, you play soft music.

~R.K. Russell

Copyright © 2020 by and R.K. Russell