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The Temple of Many Hands by Christopher Locke < back  : index  :  next >   

S w i m m i n g   L e s s o n

Now that I’ve returned, I wish
I hadn’t. The house is gone,
burned down. The sorry
old barn has collapsed
like a lung. Behind it,
I can make out the pond.
When thy told your aunt
her baby was a still born;
tiny body wrinkled and more
unnatural than any nightmare
Picasso could have sculpted,
she went down to that pond
and filled her stomach like
a water balloon. When you
and I found her, her long
black hair looked radiant
curling about the base of
some cattail. Face down,
her arms spread wide
as if telling her favorite
fish story to an audience
of tadpoles and drowned
maple leaves. Poking her
calf with a stick, we realized
it was the best
Dead Man’s Float
we would ever see.


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