Petra Kamula: Ways to enter deep water

Ways to enter deep water

1. pack everything you need in the roll-top exclusion bags, tightly looped, three times over

2. see there? the unsettled amber ribs of water laddering out behind the breakers — the rip will lead you to the back, out to sea

3. swim with me until your breath gives expires and the moon has risen over the bay

4. hold your breath: the buoys will keep the bags afloat above us: spear downwards feet first then flip / your entire body: no, trust me

5. trust me that the body remembers weightlessness of fluid extending on every side: such universal hold

6. Alcyone swam for her love as a kingfisher piercing the water over and over again and threading it with her loss

7. the oxygen tanks will help and I will strap weights and a dive knife to your belt

8. abalone fishermen stick to the rocks and count heartbeats of incoming swell

9. in the deep ocean waves rotate in circular motion and you will sense you are being carried not forward but up and down

10. grief as a kingfisher is dulled and other things take flight in the mind of a bird, so she becomes as interested in the sky as she is in her love and the dreams of her love become bright blue feathers on the tide

11. I am not saying you should trust me because all people wade into shallow water sometimes

12. most of the things that will kill you can be found on land

13. deep water closes
to remember its language
deep water opens
to remember it is alive
deep water dreams
and we must enter it

Petra Kamula is a Australian-British poet, essayist, and editor. Her work is interested in alternate/subversive myth, histories, and geographies. Her work has appeared in Poetry Review, Poetry Wales, Magma, Under the Radar and others. She was awarded the Malcolm Bradbury Prize for her poetry by the University of East Anglia.