open your eyes by Bonnie Proudfoot

open your eyes

my brother said to me as we
held hands, leapt off the raft, and I did.

The blackness was so black, each ray
of light seemed separate,

so far away. It all smelled
even more like lake, the corners

of thick planks held a twisted steel cable,
thick streamers of duckweed algae,

and the broken, muted staccato tapping
of waves as the raft ducked and bobbed,

the rocking surface all so murky and slow,
then my feet kicked, I pushed up into

the bright of day, searching for his
face, and it was beside me, closer

than I’d imagined. I never did that again,
opened my eyes under the raft,

but not long afterwards a boy dove in
and never surfaced, his friends

calling and diving, my dad racing
off the shore to help, and I knew what

that boy saw, the slats of the raft,
that thick, rusted cable, tangles of weeds,

the distance between darkness and light.

by Bonnie Proudfoot

Editor’s Note: The ethereal imagery of this poem’s narrative creates a profound moment of understanding about what is precious, and how we learn such things.


One response to “open your eyes by Bonnie Proudfoot”

  1. richardsund Avatar

    A heartbreaking poem and I suppose the heartbreak leaves me speechless.

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