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:
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 www.francesboyle.com and follow @francesboyle19 on Twitter and Instagram.