Swimming

My mother taught her how to swim
my sophisticated friend
on a visit to my grandparents

When my grandfather fell in the lake
my mother had to drive to Boston
and left us with some cousins
four times our age

Bored, we looked to the hippies next door
hoped they would notice us
we sang Beatles songs
a little Janis
but they paid no attention

She looked a little like Janis
prettier
her features sweet and sultry
she stood under a tree and belted
Me and Bobby McGee
she wasn’t afraid to throw herself into it
she might have looked older than 12
but not me

She had smoked pot
not me
she had kissed boys
me nope
she had her period and breasts
I was thin and vertical
but no one had taught her how to swim

When my mother took us back to the lake
we went to the little beach at the Girl Scout camp
I dove and swam underwater
watching sunlight glint the sand
while she in her padded two piece
with an apron to hide the belly
she worried about
splashed in shallow water

She was short, a little plump
someone with that much vanity should have had
a model’s body
still, she was beautiful
riveting with her flashy smile and thick eyelashes

Wet and small at her swimming lesson
she looked like a child
my mother helping her float
and she got it
she went out on her own
away from my mother’s hands
she dove and splashed
burst to the surface with her big voice
“I can swim!”

At her first wedding
she introduced my mother
“This is the woman who taught me how to swim.”

She moved on years before my mother died
missed the funeral
I wonder if she thinks of her
when she goes to the beach

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About aliceinbloggingland

I am starting a blog in order to establish a regular writing habit, with readers. Enjoy!
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