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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,
textures, gravities.


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