Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Reflected light whirls and quivers
on the bottom of the pool as I slug
through my eighteen laps. Will
I try for twenty-seven or be content
with an easy half-mile? I peer
through goggles to discern an answer
in the gyrating pattern, a strange
hieroglyphic meant for me.  I cave
at twenty-one, a compromise
with promises to do better. Driving
home in wet sweats, I listen
to an interview, a women obsessed
with the history of Hong Kong peeping
from an abandoned cemetery.  Her voice
rests on the first white woman to step foot
on Chinese soil, a seventeen-year-old
American missionary who died ten years
later, worn out from bearing five children.
Her story resonates in the artificial
language, the shadows on the underside
of the pool, a message missed.

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