an ode from the kids swimming in the sky

heads in the clouds,

drowning in an ocean.


choking on sand,

throats closing.


the air pressure

forcing out every breath.


lungs engineered to dry,

or burst


like a pin

puncturing a balloon.


never enough time to cover their ears,

they stood there and held their deflated balloons

still attached to their strings.


they could have let go,

and watched them fly away.


only, they would have fallen back down.


deflated they’d go—

never let go.


letting go meant falling;

too similar to drowning.


never submerging into the water;

it was always just too cold.


But someday,

they’ll jump.


down, down, down.


till it's too dark,

like swimming through black paint.


but this is water,

do not mistake it for tar.


you tell them to keep going,

but they can only wade in water for so long.


bodies mistaken-

for rocks and driftwood.


washed up on ocean shores,

bags of bones.


when they hit rock bottom-

there was nowhere else to go,

but back up.


they will float.


do not mistake falling for flying;

there are no birds in this sea.


our sky is a masterpiece.

but deeper through clouds,

it gets dark.


empty space;

their own finest work of art.


there will be days painted-

black and blue.

others pink and orange,

and some gray.


do not fear.

the sun will shine,

when they flash you a smile.


be careful when you decide to swim.


looking through their eyes;

they have cried oceans,

and they do not want to see you drown.


we hope you never have to understand what it’s like to sink,

while looking through the clouds.


yours truly,

a kid learning how to swim