Linda Scacco
Lap Swim

Nothing like a lap swim to wash away a morning conversation in the kitchen,
where early sunlight,
too shy to enter fully
peeks through wooden slats.

Words that deaden the soul shoot across the quiet morning
like spears, poison-tipped,
slapped sharp on tender inner wrists held so delicately upward.
Arrows cast
then caught and,
for a moment held,
Tossed back and hurled again
until they finally strike,
and enter,
piercing the scarred fragments of soul that remain.

She enters the water
cool, fresh, deep,
dips below the surface
not breathing
and holds herself there,
until she can no longer.
Then pulls upward
air purged
and reclaimed
with one burst.

She swims,
remembering only technique,
kick from the hips not knees,
fierce rhythmic kicking,
reach with the arms,
sharp slaps piercing the skin of water with each hard stroke,
one—two—three, breath left, and roll,
one—two—three, breath right
Thumbs glide upward along her body
elbows flexed, arms reach forward
and down
pull and glide
pull and glide, and breathe,

Until her skin is water,
pure, wet, smooth silk,
until her thoughts are nowhere but beneath the surface,
beneath the gelid surface,
fragments of soul awash in the cool numbing silent waters.