It barely stirs for five, eight breaths before
the stomach balloons and blunted talons rise
to bump the chlorinated afternoon.
It’s harder than I’d guessed—to turn myself
from man to valve, to conjure plastic teeth
from air—and harder still to say what happened
when I pulled my mouth away—a sudden dizziness,
a whirling lasting long enough to tilt
neon umbrellas and the swimmers’ pace clock
set to no true time as two kids across the pool
dance, singing There’s a hole
in the bottom of the sea, as if to cheer
for nothing past the point of nothingness—
a soft rushing, like the sigh of a lover,
when the creature blew my breath back into me.