Fully Submerged

by Olivia Paulo

It was my idea. I wanted
to do it. I wanted to climb 
the tree down by the river. 
And so I did. I remember
my unpainted toenails clinging
to the branch, and the way,
the closer I perched near the trunk, 
the sturdier I felt. I remember 
tip-toeing towards the unsteady 
in my underwear and the wind
from the river flirting with 
my unruly curls, my hands clutching 
the rope tied to the tree by someone 
I will never meet. Then this:
I’m leaning back into the trunk, 
saying, count me down.
But the voices mean nothing. 
I go “too early.” 
It’s only my body with the wild
August air. Unstable, 
and ungraceful. Half naked
half sorry, and fully submerged.