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No Decompression Limit

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©1999 Chris Abraham

No Decompression Limit

I sit hypnotized by the soft hiss and blow
Of my breath as I look past the pressure 
Of my mask.

Man-eaters pass:
Larger, drabber, more oppressive
Than on the aerated surface.

Yet, the great column of water above
Places me in the snug warmth 
Of a mother's womb.

Reassured in this salty bath
Of aquamarine and the fluttering silver
Of slender eyeless fish 
and brown drab eels, 
Foraging under great shelves 
of cragged coral.

Neutral buoyancy.
Mastering the physics of the deep,
The breath of depth;
The most delicious air
Fills my lungs to saturation.
The seduction of the underworld
Glides in a reality unreal,
Disorienting to this surface-dweller:
An absence of gravity, a magnified

Never wanting to come off
I take hit after hit;
The narcosis of this depth
Is frightening, addictive.
Bubbled mercury rises as I blow
Hard into my second stage.
I grip my jaw into the salty
Spongy rubber mouth-piece,
Shutting eyes tight,
Shaking off the numbing 

The glowing face of a gauge
Announces that the end is coming.
I will rise soon, making sure
I can see the mirrored bubbles
Pass my ascent.

As I look up light glimmers through
The great water separating me
From the sky.

Feb 12, 1999 10:10 PM