BODY OF WATER: Atlantic Ocean
You dive off the boat tank first.
The flippered feet lie flat then flip
a half circle, like a rush hour fuel gauge
falling from Full to Empty. The fall
should stop on the ocean surface,
but this once I carried too many weights,
and I crashed through 70 feet of sea
water at nine and a half knots,
kicking my fins against the fall,
backwards into my own garden of
seaweed swinging like party streamers,
connecting finally to the the ocean floor.
I nearly stepped on, but did not see,
two crabs pinching claws at one another,
their spidery legs stirring silt, engraving
a cyrillic calligraphy into the dense sand–
an ordinary wonder like an inch-thick
wetsuit and how it compresses at depth,
squeezing me from boot to hood,
or my aluminum air tank, manmade
from melted metal, and how it sinks
softly into my shoulders. I took a deep
breath—of air, 70 feet south of the ocean
surface—I saw and ignored a 7-legged
starfish, and I flipped the release latch
on my weight belt so that it fell to the floor
and I fell upward. I fought against my fall,
again, my ascension this time, trying to slow
down as the water turned from grey to jade,
and my sinuses and ears popped.
The air in my lungs expanded from a deep breath
taken under great pressure so I could breathe out
while my lungs filled up, a banal miracle—like air
travel, printing presses, syringes, cellular
phones: baskets for unending loaves and fishes—
I'm always too mixed up to appreciate.
Robert grew up with a hundred-dozen-an-hour donut machine in his basement and has lived in some of the great donut cities in America*, so it's no small thing that his favorite part about coming to NYC, besides the esoterica dredged from the waterways, is the preponderance of great donut shops.
*Los Angeles, Seattle, and Washington DC