breaststroke

by Cia Mangat

I’ve watched
the layers of
water between
your shrivelled
fingers how
you peel them
back prunes
against sheets
of paper one
by one until
the seal of
the swimming
pool’s been
broken until
you’re able
to make it
wide enough
for you to
investigate
stroke its
underside tickle
its belly you’ve

suspended
everything I can’t
understand how
you do it or
why whenever I
try to swim here
my arms seem
swathed with wet
cling-film why
underwater
everything
is lovely almost
opalescent in its
pleasantness why
my shallow ends
never bear
any of your
grace why the
water always
calms yours
yet always
singes my face