I’ve never cared much for swimming

But today, in a moment, I realized

I’ve been doing nothing more

Than swimming my entire life

Through the days, in the dirt

That fills this hole I’m in

Arms paddling, feet kicking

Head just above the rising layer

As more is kicked on top of me

Spitting it out as quickly as my mouth fills

Eyes stinging from the dust collecting

Settling in the corners, under the lids

It’s a deep hole, perhaps the only thing

That’s not shallow about me

I can see the sky above, sunlight

Shines down the hole, keeps me warm

Illuminating the faces in the dirt

That keep me company, remind me to never

Bring anyone down here with me again

And there I am, silhouetted against another day

Looking down the hole, shaking my head

Kicking more, and more dirt on top of me

It’s true, I’ve never cared much for swimming

But ironically, it’s the only thing I know how to do


  1. Swimming – what a brilliant metaphor for the struggle to get through life. This could have been written about me, it strikes such a chord! I really love this poem, River, and I think I’ll have to print it out and pin it up – it’ll remind me I’m not alone. 🙂 I love the photo too, it’s the perfect illustration, and I’m intrigued as to where it is. I guess swimming is a positive thing then, and at least it’s better than sinking… 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I feel like all most of us ever do is try to keep our heads above water, and then we die in the end anyway. What a wonderful thought…

    On another note, have you listened to much Alice in Chains? The imagery in this poem made me think of the song “Dirt” that’s on their album of the same name. I wouldn’t recommend listening to it if you’re feeling down, because it’s not the most uplifting of tracks.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Too bad I can’t add some sad harmonica to your poetry. It is like musical lyrics without the music. Best wishes, still miss you sometimes, and the final mile

    Liked by 1 person

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