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Swimming Lessons, by Kerry Pray

I tried to write a sad poem

because the ache had gone

from my head to my chest and I

Couldn’t remember why it was

I’d decided to take a breath and

then another.

But instead, I thought of water,

of the day you came behind me

in the pool, arms wrapped, chin

on my shoulder.

I read that whales don’t die of old age

they simply stop one day,

they sit in the water and refuse

to swim,

refuse to surface,


And while I don’t know if it’s true,

I know I sat in panic once, still

against beating waves.

They rushed and crushed and I

Tumbled, not yet knowing you,

not yet knowing how

you would teach me

to swim.

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