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What eddy will catch you, what wet gasp

will it leave behind? You clutch a touchstone,

your palm-size lacquered rock; its shimmery

koi intertwine. Light buzz through your lips,

an eddying nip of knowledge husha hush, sleep

abide hide-and-seeks in the fishes’ gilding.

Synchronous rush-slush, moving wave of weeds,

a crash that is not heard but rumpatumps

through water, jolts your heart, and the air

in your lungs hums, vibrates in tremulous

simulacrum of sound. Fish eyes peer at what

once was your world. You half-surface, recall

what you haven’t yet allowed to rise in bubbles

through your nose, to filter the net of awareness.

You know this memory, you’ve fingered it, lingered

with it yet it stays hidden in the fringes. Hair’s

shaky weight, heartbreak of hearing, ears blocked.

And you’re sure you’re drowning, can’t reach

for air, or up, sensing for direction in water’s

folds, or the bubble stream as you flail

to right yourself, to write yourself. No direction,

and no element other than water and its blue

above and blue below and neither makes sense

anymore, every torn breath too late. The flail

is a churn, and you are turning, needle on a seeking

dial, a gyroscope. So many planes wobble and weave,

fold and net, nip airflow. Silver stream a gleaming

lure that shimmers you adrift, till the sudden

pull of strong arms, the upward tug, a jerk into

new dimension, gulp of air. Your father.

Listen to Frances read "Pool" below:

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00:00 / 02:19

FRANCES BOYLE (she/her) is a Canadian writer, living in Ottawa. She is the author of two books of poetry, most recently This White Nest (Quattro Books 2019), and also of Seeking Shade, short stories (The Porcupine's Quill 2020) and Tower, a novella (Fish Gotta Swim Editions, 2018). Her work was nominated for Best of the Net, and has appeared in numerous print and online literary magazines. Recent and forthcoming publications include work in Best Canadian Poetry 2020, Blackbird, Event, Minola Review and Anti-Heroin Chic. Visit and follow @francesboyle19 on Twitter and Instagram.

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