Swimming Lessons: Poem Two in the “Mourning” Series

Dearest baby Tyler,
there is a forceful silence in this
family; it is almost as if you
never existed.

As if your birth blood body was never
held by your mother or your little head
was never kissed by your father.

I never saw your face, but I imagine
that even after life walked out on you,
like a jealous girlfriend, even then you
were perfect, angelic.

I guess that’s because we’d never see
your terrible, teething, biting twos.
Or hear about how you failed the third grade
math test because you’d rather play video games
than study multiplication tables.

Your parents would never have to wait up
for you on prom night, worried about what
you were doing to that girl who wore her
foundation like a second skin.

I confess that I’ve taken this silence,
this willful ignorance as my chance to
slowly swim away from this family before
I drown in the dysfunction everyone is
bathing in.


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