She Can Swim


by Nicole Musgrave


People don’t see, but she’s drowning.

A tidal-wave in the middle of the sidewalk,

she’s trying to grasp the air that wasn’t even meant for her.

It manifests in her lungs, and violently courses through the rest of her body.

The pain is relentless and unforgiving, she finds it hard to breathe.


Confusion sets in heavily on her brain.

Once again life has blown the cold wind,

freezing her shadow.

Using her as target-practice.


She isn’t sure if she should give in

and duck her head and cry, letting life win,

or if she should keep her head up and keep trying.

How could she possibly keep holding on when it was time to let go?

Just when she thought she could handle what was thrown at her,

she was sucked under the surface and fighting once more.


The people around her carry out delightful

conversations amongst themselves, smile happy smiles.

Nobody sees her, so they don’t stop.

There is no comforting hand on her shoulder,

nobody telling her that it will be alright.


No comforting hug awaited her,

she’d come to stop expecting that years ago.

They don’t see the rocks she hit on her way over the edge,

down the waterfall people labelled as emotion,

just to be met by the rushing rivers named life and be washed away again.


She needs them, but they don’t see.

She needs a comforting soul,

but they only ignore her. She is invisible.

They see her as “just playing”.

To them, she isn’t really sinking.

Because to them,

she can swim.


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