The Jeanne Crandall Broulik Memorial Prize
Spring 2014
Debra Daniel

Life Under Water

For those of us who never learned
to swim like dolphins, never managed
to put aside the Discovery channel’s
annual week of shark-filled shows,
for those of us who cannot even jump
into an innocent backyard pool
without hyperventilating and who sweat
at the mere idea of the deep end,
for those of us sad,
solid land-footed humans,
there are snorkel boards
with built-in masks
so that we can hold on to something
somewhat steady and urge our clumsy
wooden feet to paddle into the clear
turquoise waters of Hawaii’s coast
where we can peer under the surface.
Without getting our faces wet
we can see butterflies, parrots,
and angels, even the urchins and eels.
We can scan the coral reef
for the humuhumunukunukuapua’a,
and follow along with glad yellows
and oranges and blues until
we are able to let go the held breath
that has been keeping us, let go
the evolution that kept us trapped
on the dry land of disbelief.
©2014 Debra Daniel