This poem is inspired by a recent tragedy.
Two men jumped into the River Thames to try to help a woman who was drowning; one survived and one died. At the time we wrote this, the press was very much focused on naming the survivor a hero.

2 metres

A Friday, 12:01a.m.
A shout across a street.
A woman's cries, the churning Thames.
The sound of running feet.

'She's there, she's there!' A finger points.
'The police'll be too late.'
Clothes off. 'On three?' That's Jimi's voice.
But Joaquín cannot wait.

He jumps. He doesn't feel the cold.
The current's strong. So's he.
The woman drifts. He swims. He's bold,
keeps trying. 'Stay with me!'

Crowds watch from London Bridge. Blue lights.
A police boat. 'Grab this stick!'
Two rescues made. The cold air bites.
The woman groans, feels sick.

The coastguard comes. The heating room.
An ambulance. Green men.
X-rays for Joaquín. Fat tubes zoom.
He's fine, he's good. But then:

'Where's Jimi?' 'Haven't found him yet,'
the officer replies.
But soon it's on the internet:
he's dead. And Joaquín cries.

When Jimi jumped, he hit a swell
that dragged him way off course.
Joaquín thinks. Did he hear a yell?
Perhaps a 'Help me!', hoarse.

They'd hit the river side by side,
2 metres in between.
For Jimi, most press says, 'He died.'
They've 'Hero!' for Joaquín.

Poetry by Coo & Co The PoetBay support member heart!
Read 52 times
Written on 2021-05-24 at 23:09

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Bibek The PoetBay support member heart!
This reads really well, Coo & Co. The pacing, the narrative urgency, the dramatic quality -- everything is well-crafted. I like that you've chosen a ballad structure with abab rhyme. That adds more to the narrative, making it a rhythmic read. I'd love to hear a recording of it! :)

Lawrence Beck The PoetBay support member heart!
A sad story. The writing is briskly paced to suit the emergency. Well done.