(Fear of) Drowning: a Free-Verse Poem

He dances around love wearing a life vest.
And no, its not a sweet, sensual Samba, but rather
a cautious, calculated Waltz.

Careful to only get his feet wet.
Just enough to cool the heat
and suppress his desire for/fear of companionship.
Never letting love lap at his knees, you know,
’cause they might get weak.

Then she came along.

Confident. Carefree. Warm + smiling.
No life vest! he noted.
She finds his hands and guides him.
Love hits his ankles.




To the deep end.

He welcomes the submergence as love takes control
of his heartbeat, giving it new rhythm.

Equally submerged, she hasn’t let go.
Her grip is strong. Relentless and gentle.
The dance more fluid and enjoyable now with a good partner.
Scary and ..exciting.
It’s just hard to get close with that bulk around his chest.
But love is patient.

They dance a beautiful contemporary number now.
And he still wears that life vest.
Just in case.

© 2017 KBW



  1. swo8 · 27 Days Ago

    T’s the season for love, Kelley, sometimes you have to take a chance on love.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. breakingwavesofchange · 27 Days Ago

    LOVE this! I can totally relate to this, but I’m the one with the life vest.

    Liked by 2 people

    • kelley · 27 Days Ago

      Thank you!

      I think we’ve all been there, that’s why love is such an easy subject to write about.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Silksache't · 27 Days Ago

    i love this

    Liked by 1 person

  4. dancingpalmtrees · 27 Days Ago

    This poem resonates with me. I’m the one with the Life Vest. As far as romantic love or rather entanglements I rarely allow any man to get close to me. Usually I just close the door and walk away because after years of hurt and disappointment I’d rather be happily single.

    Liked by 1 person

    • kelley · 27 Days Ago

      Believe me, I understand. And happily single is the only way to be single! If a partner does find you, or even if you face a new adventure or friend or business partner, the best energy will emit from an already content, positive being.

      Thanks for reading and sharing your testimony!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. HealMobile · 27 Days Ago

    Lovely. Every time I take off my vest I learned something about myself that helps me love me more. I still keep the vest handy and I’m finding protection is not the same as acceptance, and I deeply want to grow my trust.

    Liked by 1 person

    • kelley · 27 Days Ago

      “Protection is not the same as acceptance.” Yes! I love that.
      Some pains seem like they’ll never stop until one day you look around and say hey, look at me living without the person I thought I couldn’t live without! We can grow from all situations if we’re ready and honest with ourselves.

      Thanks so much for reading + sharing your testimony.


  6. C. C. Saunders · 27 Days Ago


    Liked by 1 person

  7. trE · 27 Days Ago

    I love this so much! And, you ended it perfectly!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. e · 26 Days Ago


    Liked by 1 person

  9. Resa · 26 Days Ago


    Liked by 1 person

  10. Liz · 25 Days Ago

    Love this!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. K E Garland · 23 Days Ago

    I like how this poem looks as if someone’s falling, but with control.

    Liked by 1 person

    • kelley · 23 Days Ago

      Exactly, Dr. G! I love that it creates such a visual.

      Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Original-Dante · 21 Days Ago

    Lol in all honesty… I wear that life vest 90% of the time

    Liked by 1 person

    • kelley · 21 Days Ago

      I’m glad you can laugh about it!
      In all honesty, I think those of us that have been hurt one too many times wear that life vest; it can either get in the way or save you from killing yourself.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. 25, Black, and Alive · 3 Days Ago

    I haven’t met anyone that even remotely made me think of taking my best off. Long sigh!

    Liked by 1 person

    • kelley · 3 Days Ago

      Long sigh! Don’t even trip! Enjoy the other fulfilling things in life. And when she does come along, don’t be afraid to loosen it up.


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