A young man stares into the sun,
seizes air through his mouth
like one who’s been under water too long,
lungs filling with the deep scents
of mud and summer grasses.
He steps out of his sandals,
strips off his shirt and shorts,
and slips into the shallow creek,
hips wedged on the rocky bottom,
body prone as a makeshift raft.
Cold water bristles over and under
his limbs; his pale torso
bobs like a thin pink float.
The eyes of the world retreat
as hate sloughs away like dead skin.
All that is left is blue sky,
warm sun, cool water,
and a rhythmic trickle
that matches beat for beat
the drumming of a buoyant heart.