Whirling in a Bottle

With your hand above water, the bottle’s a spaceship leaving home with a crew of sand grain people who climbed aboard when the lip scraped bottom.

When I open my eyes underwater I see only the shadow of you, like the you is implied somewhere else I can’t see.

The stars are flashlights held by impossibly faraway children, shaking when they laugh.

We swim like porpoises but maybe not so graceful.

The water sloshing in our spaceship doesn’t look the same as the lake at night from satellite view.

When they drain your lungs for the first time it won’t look the same in the IV bag as it does from the probe’s camera where we can see the polyp growing larger by the day even though you’ve never smoked.

I’ll take you out where water meets sand so you can watch your feet melt to stumps, errant grains of sand sticking to the cool sickles of your calves.

When you pick them off, your painted nails will be rubies that don’t last.

It’ll be a time so innocent I’ll think your cough is the beginning of a summer cold.

If we look carefully at the screen, those cells are just another harmless part of you.

Grains of sand whirling in a bottle.

We’ll be in a room way up high, a room with a satellite view of the lake.

The little lights of your machines will be stars dancing in impossibly distant, impossibly tiny hands.

There’s something to be said for seeing the way the waves break and chasing after them anyway.

For holding your breath underwater, legs kicking.

For dumping bottled sand out neatly on the shore when we get back.

And the way the tide takes it out.

Out.

Way out.

Farther than we can see.

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