The Doctor, Part 45

Sharks.
Sharks and
claustrophobia.
Now:
sharks,
claustrophobia and
cancer.

Other than losing
my daughter, my wife,
these things
terrify
me:

when I was twenty
I lived alone
in a small house
on a beach
and after a long Friday
in my carpenter’s assistant
gig,
hauling lumber,
digging
postholes,
pounding and measuring,
I drove exhausted
to the video store
on a perfect summer night
and rented Jaws
on VHS,

after a few
Rolling Rocks
Brody and Hooper
were paddling
away from the shredded Orca
into the sunset
and I was carefully
placing
the mushrooms
my cousin had left
in the glove compartment
into my mouth,
chomping the heads off
first –

I walked through the door
with
the first rush,
grabbed a
flashlight
and headed to the water
even though
the moon
had turned
everything
blue,

curling sand
with my toes
I stared out
and out
hearing nothing,
removed my clothes
with
the next rush,
I looked up
to see if the stars
were alright with it
and I was
in the water,
up to my neck
fast,
remembering
very quickly
how to swim
vulnerable to
anything
for miles and miles,

I called out like Aquaman
sending psychic concentric circles
out
to all the living things,
an e-mail
to every
wiggly, creepy thing
and
a special dedication
went out
to
the sharks,

I splashed,
backstroking naked under the moon,
my body
perfect,
I swam
dangerous,
tapping
the rushes
for another length
until I was
arms heavy
tired,

on the beach
I got safe
in my clothes
and before I
turned
human again
I reached down
and howled,
calling
for a last splash,
finally:
a silver-white
fin to chase.