Drowning Stroke by Ciaran Parkes

Drowning Stroke

A kind of stroke you never have to learn,
it comes installed already like the long
lazy crawl you practiced in the womb
before you could even breathe. Your feet go down,

your head goes up, like someone standing
up in water, or trying to, like someone
who’s forgotten everything they’ve ever known
about how to float, how to keep on living

in this world. You stick your arms up, waving
about for help. You stretch your mouth wide open
for a final breath or two. You turn
streamlined as a fish, a stone, then something

grabs you from below and, like a midwife,
pulls you, gasping, backwards out of life.

by Ciaran Parkes

Editor’s Note: This sonnet’s brilliant enjambment almost fools you into believing that all will be well, but as the title states, this particular stroke of the pen ends in tragedy.

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