Spell Against Drowning

Ashley McWaters

PMS 9 | 2009

The only per­fect thing is light, and best
of all myself dri­ving into it headlong.

Let there be a reflec­tion I can live with,
or along­side, at least—a per­fect companion,

myself–only faster and in reverse. Let there be
stars and eyes like empty bas­kets. Let there be

wave after wave—from con­vert­ibles, from side­lines,
from tele­vi­sions, from depart­ing ships. Let there be

a shin­ing penny to guide the dive, neon rings to catch.
Let the flash bring me nearer and not draw me wrong.

I’ll be look­ing for work to take me under; in the inky dark
or the juicy pool-blue I’ll lose myself look­ing, forgoing

the sur­face, a stone. That glass will have a great throat
and no mem­ory, be all rid­dle. There­fore the crumbs

I left to float. There­fore the weighted paper on the shore.
There­fore the fish­ing line, the helium bal­loon, the buoy.

Some nights, it will take a party and search­light to find me:
See, there I am wav­ing from a great height. And there:

the tiny splash it took me years to master.