For Ellis Kennedy, 4 years old

I promised him yesterday
That the water would hold him up,
But he curled inward and snatched
For my hands underneath him
And dropped from the surface,
Instantly heavy.

I coaxed him to ear-depth
And we blew bubbles,
Eyes on each other.
There would be no proof
Unless he first believed me;
He knows as well as I do
That the water
Only holds us conditionally.

He puts his head under today;
His hair swirls up,
And his hands fan out,
Feet curl in;
He is born again into water.
I wave slowly
And the blue water-shadows
Of my motion
Lap across his face.
He waves back.

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