My Father, Drowning
Last night we were driving across a wooden bridge in the old station wagon. You wouldn’t turn the car around, even when I said I was scared of the long-haired man standing on the other side who kept looking at me and smiling. When he tipped the bridge over, I tried to say I told you so, but I had to take a big breath before we thunked into the greenish water, and then I noticed you weren’t even trying to swim. Your eyes were closed and your mouth gaped. Remember all the times you asked whom I would save first, you or mom, if the boat sank while we were fishing? As I struggled to hold you up, I didn’t know if it was worth it—the hauling of your body, the pumping of your stomach, the inflating of your lungs—since nothing I had done before, or, it dawned on me, could ever do, would make you happy that I hadn’t just let you go.
Emily Winakur is a psychologist and poet from Houston, TX. Her work has appeared in Comstock Review, Asheville Poetry Review, and The Texas Observer, among others.