Pop Pop’s Rescue
There it was—her little ball floating on the side of the pool, gently rocking in the splish splash of the current made by the filter. Al she had to do was kneel on the edge and stretch her two-year-old fingers out to grab it. She reached. She felt the slippery top of the ball. Then, a noiseless drop to the bottom.
I wrote this description, though I wasn’t present when it happened. The scene haunted me for years. We were vacationing at a house with a pool in the Outer Banks. I was inside reading the newspaper. My daughter, her husband, her two children (4 and 5), and her father were at the pool. They were distracted when their son ran for the ice cream truck. Fortunately, my husband remained vigilant.
That incident became the inspiration for the following poem.
Without a splash
you slip into the water
like an Olympic diver—
a perfect “10”
With a big splash
Pop-pop barrels into the water
and scoops you off the bottom,
grabbing you by the straps of
your little striped bikini.
Unaware of the drama outside,
I am sitting at the long table upstairs
reading about politics,
worrying about your future.
how quickly, how irrevocably
fate can change our lives.
I see it in the moisture in Pop-pop’s eyes,
and the break in his voice
when he tells me what happened.
We all want to hold you—have to hold you,
have to feel your heart beat and taste the
sweetness of your breath.
When it’s my turn, I sit with you
wrapped in a towel on Uncle Ed’s canvas chair.
“Mom-mom, I was all the way under the water
and I held my breath the whole time!”
You are happily and peacefully unafraid.
Thank you, God, for this precious child,
This Madelyn Elizabeth
Who gets to be three years old.