Ophélia watches the girl
            spin down through the blue depths,
burrowing in until we see 
            just the tips of her toes
fire-engine red. I will do that,
            she points, as the girl bursts
up through the cheek 
            of the pool face—nose slashed
shut against death. Gasping. Eyes bright. My girl
            is not afraid

as she skims across the surface—
            eyes goggled and fixed on her father
slipping like a devil
            ray just below her
across the tiled pool floor. I have ripped           

            that one off my list:
Death by drowning. By tripping 
            into a pool. By tumbling into the lake.
By toppling out of a dinghy. By slow sink
            into a watery bath. Before she was born, a family of five—

five!—drowned in the river
            just feet from our house
as we made love, no, napped. The father
            and two boys fell out of the flipping canoe 
and when they did not pop up, the mother—
            pregnant six months—plunged in. How

did this happen? I had to ask. It’s so shallow. 
            Couldn’t someone swim? But no,
it was the cold that snuffed them out—hot
            as their bodies were in the dead
of French summer. Cold Water Shock. You gasp           

            and breathe in all that water
around you. And then again. And again. I imagine            

            the youngest peaceful, breathing 
in the amniotic fluid. Until it, too, is not enough 
            as the soft body of the mother floats, 
floats up 
            to the air. Wanting to be found. I looked up           

“what happens to the fetus 
            of a drowning mother” and rapidly shrank
from the deluge of stories: mothers who drowned
            their young.
This mother

            was probably sleepy in the heat. Reaching
for her own nap. Maybe
            laughing when they were tossed over
the side. Fumbling           

            for her phone for a shot. Waiting. 


those moments 
            before she saw. 

Saw the unmoved water gaze back.

           As all around her 

we breathed in. 

           We slept.