Quarter-Mile Caregiver, A Poem by Chris Russell

You asked me why

I didn’t become a poetry professor at a university

and instead help little kids with extreme needs,

and I’m not going to repeat myself here,

but I gave you a long list

of reasons that seemed to go on forever.

I can best explain it with a little story.

Once at York the lifeguards

and my caregiver forgot

to check the water for yours truly

after I’d fallen asleep on a raft

and been pulled out by an undertow to

a quarter mile off shore.

It took an hour for them to reach me.

But rather than feeling humiliated,

which is what you’d expect me to feel,

I felt excited.

I watched the little orange speck grow

bigger and bigger as it approached,

and I thought to myself I’m important.

Yeah, that’s not why.

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