“Abandoned Dress Turning into a  Flamingo”
Dawn Price

Sarah J. Diehl

Swimming Lesson at Six Years Old

Before that day, I’d swum only an arm’s 
length from the curled rim of the Olympic-
sized pool. Certain of touch, 
I could navigate the distance.
But then the instructortanned, leggy
woman in navy suit with orange
flowerscommanded that I cross the center.
As I followed the black tiled lane markers,
targeting the deep end, I cleared the half-
way point, the shadow of the empty
lifeguard stand, white shrouded ring
tethered to its side. But at the decline
to twelve feet, stilled tongues
of diving boards looming overhead, 
a trapdoor dropped; cloudless sky
clamped me into airless blue. 
Unmoored, I fumbled toward the edge, 
inhaling water’s sting. The surge 
of my blood drowned the teacher’s voice 
clapping in my brain. My lungs nettled by breath,
I heaved my chest onto warmed cement.
I heard the thwack and plonk
of tennis balls, the racket of blue jays tussling
over day-old fries, those hard facts I’d lost
as I was mesmerized by my dark form
alone, crawling the vast, indifferent deep.