The Life Raft by Nancy Machlis Rechtman
The angry waves crash over me
And knock me down
Until I’m shaken
Like a martini.
I can’t touch the ground
Or tell up from down
So it’s possible that I’m floating
Or I might be drowning
But either way
I can’t breathe.
The sky has vanished
As the breakers
Refuse to relinquish their grip on me.
Snake around my body
And I struggle for air
But instead, each gasp fills my lungs with briny water
That stifles my cries for help.
Soon, the fight seeps out of me
And I tumble endlessly into darkness.
Suddenly, something slams into my back
I force my eyes open
To find a life raft that has manifested like an apparition
And whether it’s real or not
I reach for it and pull myself in
Just as the raging sea
Comes for me.
The swells lift me higher and higher
Until I’m sure I’ve touched the sky
And I’m now at the top of the crest
Suspended between heaven and earth
Where I reach for the clouds
So tantalizingly close
That I want to crawl over and curl up in them
But without warning, like a roller coaster I plunge
Slapping down hard as I’m baptized by the sea.
I realize that the life raft has disappeared
And I struggle to stand up
Staggering like an air dancer at a used car lot
As I wobble to the shore
While the tide laps benignly at my feet
Where I sink onto the warm sand
Nancy Machlis Rechtman has had poetry and short stories published in Paper Dragon, The Bluebird Word, Quail Bell, Blue Lake Review, Goat’s Milk, The Writing Disorder, Discretionary Love, and more. She wrote freelance Lifestyle stories for a local newspaper, and she was the copy editor for another paper She writes a blog called Inanities at https://nancywriteon.wordpress.com.
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