The Last Thing You Want to Break

by Wesley Dodson

Even though I could feel my arms and legs,
the spinal cord, when injured, goes into shock,
and I could not sheperd my feet
to stand in the shallow water.

My lungs, full of air, reassured me
as I floated, squirming until
I could twist my lips out of the river
to ask for a single syllable.

Luckily there were ears to hear.
And as I looked up at the circle of sunburned faces,
the Osprey flew directly overhead
to see what the heck was going on.

The X-ray showed a burst fracture of C5
and a bruised spinal cord. I wiggled my toes.
The doctors offered me seven pieces of titanium
or three months in a halo. I made my choice, wondering
if I would ever dive again.