Distress call

I heard you going down
again for the last time,
saw a familiar hand waving,
remembered that face
from another time.

You were easy to rescue.
I know the ways of quicksand,
recall my own head
as I called out a name.

Remember too, the good air
I breathed again onshore,
remember the touch and smile
of a kindness past caring.

Lifeline, how could I forget
those cries for help,
yours and mine both
mixed now together
in one saved voice?


How could one, indeed? Once you’ve been there, you never forget how isolated and alone a person can get or feel. Connected consciousness via empathy. And once that connected, perhaps never that apart ever again.

Something similar, I understand, occurs when ordinary people go to the rescue of complete strangers, even when the risks are very high. When interviewed, the rescuers frequently talk about how it was like the person in peril was they themselves. No distance between the two in the connected consciousness of rescue. And so maybe we do save ourselves reciprocally when we save others, and may live to be lucky enough to return the favor.

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