She once said to me
(–this was the last conversation we had
before she passed–)
to swim in love.
Whenever I can, wherever,
just intensely, fully, and drowningly so.
She was referring to my grandfather then, I believe,
and perhaps other loves in her past
or maybe just her approach to love,
an rather radical one for an intellectual.
Either way, I didn’t understand it then
and perhaps didn’t sympathize with it either.

In the last couple of days
and weeks, even years, however,
I’ve had moments in which
I was basking in someone’s presence and perhaps someone was, in turn, in mine, too.
I’d always emerge from these encounters
like a freshly christened child
rises from the well
or men walk out of the Jordan River,
choosing the third way, a new path.
I never understood it,
and at times didn’t like the demanding monopoly
on my being.
An overstepping of boundaries?
An intrusion into my space?
The result, a lack of control?
Hurt on the horizon
like the darkest summer storm?

When I first met my love,
down by the water that bends and always flows,
we had a conversation like that,
demanding full presence, even surrender,
after which we took a walk
in opposite directions along the river
to center ourselves again.
It’s these outs that make the ins alright,
even enjoyable.

So if there’s a shore,
or if there’s a boat,
I’ll go for that swim,
naked at midnight.
It’s then that I’ll feel out her advice
of swimming in love
and even find refuge right there
in this era of digital optimization and inevitable distortion,
imminent social isolation.

In this attitude
and willingness to risk
there’ll be depth and vulnerability
and always much at stake.
But I must not waste time
scratching the surface
of this briefly shining star
that this little life sometimes resembles.

But then again, there’ll only ever be
dust left over anyway,
won’t it.