LUKE POWERS

 

Diving into the Dead Sea

There are places
you can do it --
far from the eyes
of Muslims, Jews
and Christian tourists,

places where a
smooth abutment
of Holy Land
juts out into
gray-green water

like a marble slab --
offering no reflection
of earth, sky
or even yourself.

So take a last
deep breath
and dive in unbelief,
your hands flat
to guard your face...

There's no splash
just a viscous suck
as you sink weightless
like a pearl of goo
in a lava lamp;

for a few seconds
the complete inertia
of immortality--
the blind womb,
the I not I.

Then the salt stings-
your instinct fights
the counter-surge,
but all the same
it's rejecting you,

forcing you back
into the catastrophe
of creation--
wretching for breath,
sticky as a newborn.