I was told 
that my grandfather taught
the boys how to swim 
by throwing them into 
one of the ponds up our road
and I would stand at the banks
and imagine them struggle
while he watched silently
just in case they weren’t
going to make it

Later I watched them struggle
with everything but swimming
while he moved through our house
without even watching or asking
for that
just in case moment
not because he believed 
that they’d be fine
but because he was already
finished and gone

I wasn’t surprised 
when half-drowning
wearing a suit with three kids
and pretending to have it  together
that there wasn’t a hand waiting

and here most of us sit
because nothing is okay
but we’ll be damned
to see our own 
so we can’t 
burn it all down
we have to make it better
for those that come after
because I’m not like him
and you’re not like them