I caught sight of a head
bobbing in the whitecaps,
was drawn down the beach
to examine it, to ascertain
that it was not human.
I stared at black hair spread
and trailing over boiling waters
as you floated facedown.
I was mesmerized, rooted there
by the sick feeling in my stomach.
But I found my eyes were soon drawn
to other sights, the lights
of distant boats and the fabulous
towering flames eating an oil rig
and I wanted to burn up too.
I heard a small cry and turned;
my daughter was running, lost
in the dusk and crying for her mother.
I turned from you then, stopped lying
to myself that I care enough to save a stranger.
I'm human too, and no heroine.
I want to preserve my own flesh.
You were really only driftwood
or perhaps a seaweed-bearded buoy
anchored in the rolling filth.