Rena Lee

Almost Drowned

I am the girl, whom the sea engulfed,
then spewed on shore.

For a moment I was the center of attention,
a sudden sensation on the beach.

People pressed all around to see –

Lying limp and still, my ears filled with
muffled whispering:

“She almost drowned.”  “She’s almost back.”

In the balance of almost, for a fleeting second,
I had the choice.

“The show was disappointingly short,
at least it had a happy ending,”

the dispersing crowds must’ve thought.

I am the girl, whom the sea took in,
made me, for an instant, his,

then, cast me out on shore,
thus I became an outcast. 

Unable to shake off the salt, I carry on
as a forsaken shell in which emptiness blows.

The sea wants me no more, but the sand does.
From deep below the world’s noise,

I hear its summoning voice, raspy with grains,
choked with tears unshed.

Everyone keeps mistaking me for the girl
who was saved.

Rena Lee, pen name of Rena Kofman, was a poet and writer, a retired Professor of Hebrew from the City University of New York,and the author of twelve books in Hebrew and many magazine publications in both Hebrew and English.