I’m beyond the depths now,
at least beyond the ones
I’d always thought were my home.
I’m a skimmer now. I never dive.
I can’t imagine the pressure there
and know I would not survive it.
I watch the younger ones go there.
I do not always love how they go,
do not always honor what they return with,
but that they can go at all, fearless and
sometimes wrong and dumb but still
willing, is enough sometimes almost
to kill me when it does not make me
swell with envy and pride for the work itself.
Now and then I stare back across
the surface I skimmed to get here
and tell myself that someday
I will go back for one attempt
to go deeper than before,
and then I look down at my feet
and realize I’m too often terrified
just to stand here
and hold myself upright
on the solid earth, and I know
that descent is no longer mine
to make, so I turn and watch
the younger ones taking my place
and see them coming back up
holding what was never meant to be mine.