Ensnared Snarl

I’m always looking up
at him, my uncle, hooked
grin on his huge,

and I’m caught, taut
as a cod scuttling in air,
too startled to thirst

for backyard pool water,
tank’s expanse, briny-
bitter.

I know he will have me
salted, will fling acrid risk
in the deep end either way.

Regression halts,
reimagines trauma,
almost-thrown rocking
halite-soaked toddler
body, skin shedding

with impressioned
solution, flickering
mirrored screen
lapping at my figure,

small enough to plunge
my snivels back up through
nostrils full, bulked immensity

now too wide, he swings me
back, in my teenage unease,
streaming, advises me to utter

clearly underwater, assert my
helplessness, then cuts me
loose, out of his grasp.

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