The American Journal of Poetry
"Strong Rx Medicine"®


Jason Hackett

Summer's Day Dive into a Lake


When you die,
It came to me suddenly,
You die up or down.
No middle ground
Or plea bargaining
Will grant you entrance to
The preferred direction,
No give-and-takes,
No do overs.
You already lived your life, its fate
Laid out undetermined before you.

You made it what it is,
Yours and only yours.
Excuses and apologies come too late
When standing before the gate
Of your own making,
Wishing you’d been a better human
After your human is already gone,
Standing naked before the sun (to some, the son).

Transparently judged,
Your being beckoned
Forward into sight (to some, the light),
Your skin will not prevent
From seeing within.

You have no skin,
Nor legs to run from sins,
Nor mouth to silence secrets,
Nor eyes to divert truth’s deceits.

Your body buried,
Your soul exhumed,
Passed on once, hopeful not to be passed on again.
Your reflection bent on altered knees
Praying that this will make a difference,
Doing your house cleaning,
Scourging the rough spots in your life
In preparation for a new strictured (to some, scriptured) covenant
Uncaring of a tardy repentance.

This thought came to me,
Crazily, instantly.
The purity of my life’s entirety,
Before me flashed
After a dock’s dash and
A summer’s day dive into a lake.

Bubble whirls formed contemplative swirls
Inside my head,
My body slicing down through the warm shallow of oblivious
Into deep, invigorating realization.

Below the surface
My lifetime became seconds,
I, witnessing its full spectrum
For the first time,
As the brisk lake water drew me deeper into myself,
Saw moments attaching,
Forming my full life’s deed in need of betterment.

I remember it vividly,
That summer’s day’s dive into the lake,
A vision of beauty and importance
Manifesting so clearly in the murk
Under a bright, waterless sky;
Me, holding my breath for penance,
Inspired by new intentions, a new purpose
For my resurface.




JASON HACKETT is an English Lit. Major who put his writing skills to good use as an advertising copywriter. He wrote his way up through the ranks and, twenty-plus years later, Jason is now owner and creative director of HAPI, an ad firm located in his hometown of Phoenix, AZ. Every day, he can be found banging away at his keyboard, playing with words and concepts. Summer’s Day Dive into a Lake is Jason’s first published poem. 



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