Not quite coked beyond the caring point,
you let a small girl almost drown
then saved her from yourself. Her mother

cried into your eyes the killing grave
you’d spared her. How bad you were then: selling,
using, lying—you’d snort your mother’s

maiden name if you could spell it flashing
neon. That swimming lesson saved you too
and now, goose-bumped, salvation squeaks along

with each Grand Canyon’d push of splintered
oars in rusty locks. A dory in fast water.
A desert sun, punishing. Past rattlers,

schist, caverns and falls, you muscle through cold
cauldrons of froth and gorge on huge holes
well—scouted. A clean run starts with a good line.