Marcus McCann

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Landing, as in Water

Pleasure —
though pleasure’s not
the right word

not exactly —
in falling through air
with all our meat on us

like a man shlepping
two suitcases and, under each arm,
an extra pillow

tripping. How
could this be thrill?
Maybe you jumped,

maybe you were eased off a landing
or vaulted
as in from the final uptilted

finger of a water slide
to crash — I mean

to slide through some max
amount of air and plunk down
in water, ah

that soft catch
in gravity —
catch being not

at the surface
but five, six feet under.
And if off a bridge

then water like a blue-black cold
of glory, and if off a lakeside rope

then like a green-brown
promise grabbing you
with its hundred hands all over —

when I said “disorienting
entry into a lake” I underestimated,
it was cavalier —

in its chlorinated
variation, if off

a 10-metre pebbled
concrete plank,
from your raw feet

you spring,
humid under
-exchanged atmosphere

whizzing by your ear
and the whole parabola
of your body

now suddenly underwater
but willing itself to surface
in loving reversal —

physics, biology
instinct of your wet heart
wet lungs, your lips and eyes —

what a — no, not thrill —
down and coming up.


Marcus McCann is the author of three books of poetry, most recently Shut Up Slow Down Let Go Breathe (Invisible, 2017), and ten poetry chapbooks. His work has been awarded the EJ Pratt Medal and the John Newlove Award. A former director of the Transgress Festival and the Naughty Thoughts Book Club, he is a part-owner of Glad Day Bookshop. @mmccnn