The family went swimming,
in the swaying water
of the Indian Ocean.

The father, like a god
held the waves on reins,
and balanced a living thing
on his knife underwater.

The pufferfish surfed on
a thick blade, swelling bigger
than my child-head. Spiky, yellow
anger grew, a thick balloon
of tiny flesh. It bobbed
towards me, and behind
goggles, fear bulged as death
by puncture pursued.

But it was Daddy in the wetsuit,
a big, black human fish,
I swam away from,
like a little mermaid
who dreamed of freedom above
the confines of childhood.