Saturday, 16 January 2010


By Ingrid Mattson

I used to love swimming underwater
Diving down deep
To touch mossy stones
At the bottom of the river
Holding my breath until air exploded
through tightly closed lips
And the rock bass swam away
Spiny fins glinting in the filtered sunlight

I used to love swimming underwater
Until Joey drowned
Dear sweet brother
Pulled down by the Kicking Horse River

For one year after that
I would panic

When the water from the shower
Dripped over my face
Fearing when I held my breath
That I would never breathe again

Sounds like fun
A vile euphemism
For making someone think he is drowning

About as fun as a kick in the ribs
A blow to the head
A shock to the genitals
Sodomy with a billy club

My 14 year old daughter saw the pictures
When she opened Yahoo to get her mail
She sobbed for three days
Her anxiety over cruel remarks from classmates
Now exploding into fully-formed terror
They could do this to us

But even worse
That anyone could do it
Her faith diminished

God can only be good
If there is some good in us
The faith of children
Treads water
Waiting for the life-guard in us

Dr. Ingrid Mattson is Director of the Macdonald Center for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations, Director of Islamic Chaplaincy Program, Professor of Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations, and both the first female and first convert president of the Islamic Society of North America


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