Diving Bells

by Michael Hurley

I remember a trilling, late summer, most things porous, my friends starting to die.
It’s true: once you see them lying there waxy, that’s what you remember. Shiny as
bell peppers. My mother’s crow, also, lying in the news. A lot of folded hands that
summer. A lot of elsewhere. I wanted to rinse them with water at a kitchen sink,
towel them dry. Try to clean the poison off.

Sheena said, You’re not drowning again, are you?

I don’t recall how my brother’s voice sounded when we were younger, just the little
plastic football helmets with face nets in the bubbles and the stickers you put on
yourself. He hasn’t died yet, just stopped calling. Like staying in the bathroom longer so people think you washed your hands.

I remember a different summer, in the swimming pool. A game, or a trick, I’m not
sure. We would stand in the center of the pool and open our mouths, press our lips
together, fill in the creases of one another. We would both go underwater, hugging,
fitting this way at the mouth, pushing air between us.

From above: Two boys with mouths pressed together, tongues sometimes touching,
breathing underwater. Green and red and yellow bell peppers
and a dog outside,
running back and forth.

Michael Hurley appreciates you reading his poem. He lives in Pittsburgh.