THINGS IN THE WATER WE CANNOT SEE
You go to the lake with a friend of yours
who will die within the next two years,
three, maybe, with a bone marrow transplant.
Her husband carries a plastic cooler
filled with honeydew and raspberries in Tupperware,
a couple cold beers driven into a bed of ice at the bottom.
You sit with them beneath the fronds of an old cedar,
away from the shore and the parasites in the water
that could kill your friend before the cancer does.
She only wants to look at the lake.
The gauze of lily pads and white flowers.
She didn’t come here to swim, but she wore
her red bikini, her bones heaving against her skin
as if everything inside her is coming to the surface,
gasping for air.
Her husband tilts his phone on its side
and turns the screen towards them for a photo.
His arm eclipses her shoulders until she is all laddered-rib.
Later, he goes into the water,
and she cannot touch him after he’s finished,
not until he washes himself
of all they things in the water they cannot see.
On the drive home, he is careful
not to brush her with his arm.
He leaves just enough distance between them.
- Chelsea Comeau