Higher Power by Mohammed Al-Houti

I

I remember falling off a jet ski
when I was a kid. I had no life jacket

and couldn’t swim; I had no life
when I was drowning, it felt strange,

almost serene to be caught
between the air and ocean bed. 

To be within arms reach of the surface
but unable to move; I didn’t struggle

until a hand broke through this barrier
of water and pulled me out; the sea’s cool

spell made me shiver as air came rushing
into my lungs. Those few moments alone

underwater, I felt the presence of a higher
power, I was in awe and I was powerless.

II

Watermelon seeds are clusters of life
wedged into red water, like black spores

they scatter and pepper the earth
until they’re buried underground

and have touched brown leaves
insect limbs, rotten fruit; each sapling

grows in the dark, being coated
with death. Inside their green shells

they are fully stocked with juice
and specks of life that burst out

when animals split them open,
each bulbous core spraying water

on tongues, spitting out seeds
that slip from their hands onto soil.

III

Crystalline person, polygon edged skin
wiped clean of a face, expanding

clear figure, insides visible like
the undulation beneath sea waves,

soft light, fingers move but touch
nothing, body sinks into the depths

retaining water like a melon
a taste of tangy saltiness

the ocean is like an invisible
cloud but it’s there, the weight of it

forcing water down your throat
soul bleached of colour, divine

reaching inside you like roots
as time passes into the waves.

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