My arms dig into the puddles of light.
The chlorine steam keeps rising.
Each breath I take, amplified by water,
still crashes against my eardrums.
But now, I stare up at some sky
that couldn't have been this elemental
blue two weeks ago, before my father
drifted from attachments.
Not that I picture him there above me,
lifeguarding from eternity.
There's just a difference
in the light I backstroke through --
where absence, newly angled,
reflects across flat water
and like water, changes all the colors,
When the sky ashes over, I think it couldn't
have been this gray two weeks ago.
This must be my father, tangled
in air he just swam through.
-- originally published in Poetry International