I fear their language of silence,
how they turn side to side so easily
I can’t follow or understand
their meaning

They come from nowhere,
suddenly slant under me, wordless,
dead eyed, Paleozoic

The fear I feel of flesh torn from legs,
of being swallowed by water,
of looking through my mask
at glittering designs on the ocean floor,
keeps me wary of their blue and yellow bodies
tipped at gills and tails with orange,
of the darkness of coral and seaweed,
of what darts from shadows

What I fear more than shark or stingray,
more than drowning, more than spotting
below me the landscape of eternity is
never again to hear the cries of gulls,
the shouts and laughter of swimmers
playing in the surf, the inhale, exhale,
of my breath above the syntax of the deep