OCCUPATIONAL DROWNING

There is something about being small
that makes people want to drown you. 
And they do, endear you to
its stale, snaking suffocation. Down you go
without a fight as dahlias pop and sputter
before your eyes like defective
roman candles. Your beaded breath
festoons the arms lowering you
through cellar doors. But they don’t know
that this is the only way you can sleep, 
that the pressure clears a flight path for you to rise
over foaming coastlines. Your forearms
sprouting feathers even as your back scrapes
a fibreglass bottom. And yet the surface
always breaks and piety dots your sight, 
muffles the lifeguard’s pert shriek. The ceiling sags, 
then sharpens, backstroke flags piercing
an ad-libbed angle. You are the last one out
of the pool, giddy pinwheel, ready for the next hand
to preside over your life. Beneath the moon-grey
change room lights, the showers pepper colloquially
and your sticky red suit won’t give you back
your body as easily as you give it away. 


Jessie Jones grew up in the prairies and now lives in Toronto. Her work has appeared in magazines across Canada, the US and the UK. Her first chapbook, Nix, was published this year by Desert Pets Press.