Holding My Breath
It was a favorite aunt who used to tell
How, when I learned to swim, I’d cry out
To the attendant angels on the float,
“Going undah now,” and disappear
For as long as I could hold my breath,
Then breach spouting: call me Moby Dick.
She’s gone under now, and all her memories.
She won’t come up at sunset on the porch
To suck the orange slice from her Old Fashioned,
Or cross-stitch dresses for the German dolls
Ranged in a glass-front case for neighbor children—
She had none—to visit. Where are they?
Bedtime. I pull the covers up and murmur
(So my attendant angel doesn’t hear),
“Going undah now.”