Final Breath

Final Breath

Posted on:Sep 16 2007
By:Flint McGlaughlin
    NOTE: This is a narrative poem. The rhythm is nuanced, but deliberate. The message is painful.


There’s a darkness, a suffocating void. I feel its endless, merciless sinking, from deep into deep.

There’s a striving, a pathetic flailing. And I sense its hopeless, meaningless knowing. . . . I sow what I reap.

I thought I could swim; I heard your crying. I thought I could save you with powerful strokes but strength is a lie.

This water is cunning; I feel its mocking. This water is lordless; it slips through my fingers . . . and dares me to try.

How can I help you? I can’t even reach you. My God, you are drowning, and I can do nothing but gasp for more air.

How can I leave you? I barely can see you but the wake of your thrashing keeps me desperately clinging . . . to a hope we can share.


I am no Titan – to ride on the waves and wrest you from savage, watery death.

I am a David – slingless and stoneless, and this final psalm plays on my final breath.

    Tender broken child,
    Shame was hiding in that touch.
    He could not know his thieving would cost your soul so much.
    Softly now my girl,
    They’re just echoes that you hear.
    The demons now that plague you are but phantoms clothed in fear.
    Angel lost in sorrow,
    Our body is but dust.
    He cannot stay your heart if you’ll give yourself in trust.
    Lover twice betrayed,
    I’d cleave my soul in two.
    If I could save myself, I’d trade myself for you.
    But I am drowning.

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