The swimming lesson

It was summer; we were little,

My friend’s name was Sal.

We played, minding our own business,

When her dad called her to the side of the pool.

He reached across to her, picking her up by her arms

And dropped her into the water.

She couldn’t swim

And he had decided, at that moment to surprise her

And have her learn.

I stood by the edge and watched her sink.

It was beautiful.

She was so resigned to the fate

She sank slowly; the water bubbled lightly,

Her eyes wide open as down she went.

The pool seemed infinitely deep.

Her hair floated like snakes around her head

Her hands outstretched so sadly, pleading

Like Ophelia.

Goodbye. I remember thinking goodbye.

Her father reached into the water

And plucked her out, back into the air.

Sal took some deep breaths

Lightly coughing- but quiet

Well behaved and accepting.

The father was angry

He cursed at her and turned away as if she had failed.

I went to her, but she wouldn’t speak

She was changed after that; she began to grow up

An adult coldness began to grow inside her.

I’ll never forget her eyes as she sank

Se clear, so wide, like looking into the universe

As the universe looks back.

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