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I couldn’t go back, no matter how easily I could drown.

On Facing Aphenphosmphobia

after Despy Boutris

We went out at dusk, the heat
from the day fueling our frenzy,

our legs pumping to the sound
of the summer cicadas.

The dry grass nipped at my skin
but I didn’t notice

until the cool lake enveloped
my legs and our eyes met,

a warm hand reaching
for mine. Pulling me in, hair

intertwining, I felt the heat
of her neck, felt our hands greedy

and needing, the taste of water
and sweat intermingling.

Come on, she laughed, my hand
still in hers. And I felt it

in my stomach:
despite how deep the water was,

I couldn’t go back,
no matter how easily I could drown.

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