I was embarrassed when my dad saved my life from drowning
...........in a box-shaped pool at The Palace Motel.
...........He said,
..........“You could still touch bottom. You can swim.”
...........He said,
..........“You panicked.”
Should it have stung so much

to know I panicked?
..........Shocked to slip in the deep end,
..........surface slick with algae,
..........sinking and reaching for air,
..........sliding, desperate,

relieved when my father dove,
..........and clinging.
..........Though I could still touch,

I panicked. Years later, with my house aflame,
...........my own children sleeping,
......................................................(“Get the kids out!”)
...........the night biting,
.......the snow drifting,
it came again.

Swallowed up. At least I had practice
............that summer,
............when I was seven
............and my head went under

not for the last time.