CONTEMPLATING HUMANITY WHILE SWIMMING
After a mile, I stop paddling and drift. I strap an orange swim buoy around my waist, and don the goggles, gloves, fins. Like a mink on a rock, I slip off my board, and begin arm over arm on my back, towing the board behind me. The wind tickles the water’s surface. In the cool air, I can’t help wonder if there is snow on top of Mount Washington. Alan’s admonishment gnaws at me — You can’t write a poem that considers the humanity of a terrorist — a poem that prays for a sinner, like what Taha does in Revenge. I think about Tsarnaev as a teen — purportedly gregarious, friendly, funny. He probably watched cartoons as a boy. Then, as a young man, his brother whispered Bomb. In the cartoons, an explosion singes a finger, a wall crumbles, but the hero walks away unscathed. To calm my stitch, I take deep breaths. I’m on a beautiful lake surrounded by mountains. I turn over and swim crawl. I want to better understand lapses in judgment — including my own. I think about what it means to be human.