Swimming After Midnight

Roger Camp

Roger Camp

Swimming After Midnight was selected for MSUL’s themed call for work about Water, in coordination with the MSU Broad Art Museum’s fall 2023 exhibition, Flint is Family in Three Acts, featuring the photography of Latoya Ruby Frazier.

for Joe Macaluso

It didn't feel any different from daytime,
gulping deep breaths of night air
and pulling handfuls of tropical water
to propel myself forward.
I halted a mile from shore. Adrift,
I allowed my body to float
until it faced the island, the pitiful lights
of Kalihiwai a bobbing apparition.
Absent forehead, Kauai was faceless,
no skyline brokered land from sky.
Only inkiness.
I may as well have been a mite,
fallen off a quill, floating in an inkwell.
Beyond the island's sunken shoulder
beneath my restless feet, a thousand tepid feet,
the seabed. The first warning
of a grim shark's attack
would be a violent snap of my leg
followed by a succession of choking yanks,
salt water expelling out my nostrils
like a marine iguana.
I flashed on my true scale in the night ocean
a meaningless spec afloat in a watery universe
imagining myself to be
one of the five million microorganisms
contained in a teaspoon of sea.

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