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Poetry

Kate Bowers

Kate Bowers is a Pittsburgh based writer who has been previously published in The Ekphrastic Review and Rue Scribe.

SWIM FAN

There’s a long line at
The swimming pool, and I am
Lucky to be in

A lane already
Quenched among the scorched
Briefly free of all

This heat, floating down
Each length as other swimmers
Kick and pull their way

Into flip turns and
Sets, some with hand paddles or
Fins for greater speed

Making time open
By racing it as if that’s
Possible in a

Neighborhood Y as
Busy as this here among
Our shade lined streets.

The fish I know though
Swim without time in mind if,
That is, you think that

Fish Brain is real. I
Do, of course, being full of
Water myself and

Fluent with scales and
The songs that come with.

Surprising I know
To realize fish as singers,
Open throated as

Any bird in their
Watery medium where
They pipe their ballets

Of sorts, you know the
Kind you see in middle school
Auditoriums

On unseasonably
Warm, fall and spring Saturdays—
whole day affairs that

Arrogantly waive
Away a program schedule,
Mostly due to the

Algebra of tiny
Children moving in and out
Of sequin costumes,

Scaled and wriggling,
Screaming and giggling with joy
And terror, as out

Of their element
As any creature can be
Until they return

To play again on stage,
Fish Brain coming back on line,
Dancing as they do,

Staying longer on
One leg than another, and
Drifting further to

The left than the right
Feeling their way through the murk
Of music and parental

Shouts, not really sure
What comes next except
That it will, definitely,

Floating through their time
On stage, buoyant within this
Circumstance, vibrant

With breathing and song.
Fish brain, that place where words don’t
Count and the vessel

Of your body moves
In accordance with the water,
Held within the teardrop

Of time here in this
Lane you’ve waited for in all
This unforgiving

Heat.

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