Be too old to do exactly as you’re told. Saunter around the lobby while the ancients beckon you to fears you don’t share. Go to the ladies room. In the mirror look nothing like the lady you are supposed to become. Fail to give them the slip for swim lesson. Sit on the ledge, your feet refracted. At the whistle warm the water with your young piss. Pass rumors about the swim teacher, Mickey. She was beautiful once, champion. She swam beneath the bombs, silently marking their location, a ruby among garbage. Now she’s a thousand feet high with the legs of Baba Yaga, white as the eye on a panicked horse. She spots your quaking face. Fall in. Feel her swing over you on the contraption used to aid arthritic patients. Watch the arc of her great cane. Remember the generations. Then swim. For the love of God. Swim.
Listen to the author read “How to Learn to Swim”:
Merridawn Duckler is a poet, playwright from Portland, Oregon. Recent poetry published or forthcoming: TAB (nominated Best of the Net), Fifth Wednesday, The Offing, Literary Orphans, Crab Creek Review, International Psychoanalysis, Unbroken, others. Runner-up: Arizona Poetry Center, judge Farid Matuk. Finalist: Center for Book Arts, Tupelo Press, Sozoplo Fiction Fellowship, Oregon Play Prize. Fellowships/awards: Writers@Work, NEA, Yaddo, Squaw Valley, SLS St. Petersburg, Russia, Southampton Poetry Conference. Editor at Narrative and international philosophy journal Evental Aesthetics.