Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Another new poem

This poem is probably begging to be a story or a memoir piece since it's so stubbornly narrative, but here it is in poem form for now...


The Indoor Pool


It was a town of walnut trees and low houses, sulpher water
that yellowed the toilet bowls and sinks, cement and heat,
a splintery fence we weren’t allowed to climb. Daughters
in school books did not clamber; those books seemed vaults

of other times. The house had an indoor swimming pool
(the former owners had been ill; it wasn’t a pool for wellness,
reeking of chlorine, sulpher and old skin). Illimitable school
spread out low and white beyond the fence. Spelling

tests and cursive practice obliged restraint between thick black lines
on thinnest paper. We guarded our loops to produce their proper
height. The splintery fence loomed between school and home, a sign
of something we weren’t to discuss. Mothers were shoppers,

fathers pounders of nails. Children wore blindfolds
and pinned paper tails on donkeys. When somewhere someone
drowned, a lock and chain appeared on the pool door, cold
as an ancient dungeon’s. Locked away, the water whispered come on.

We found the key. Shadowed and volcanic, the black water
shrouded us. We pretended to drown. Inspired, we ran to the redwood
fence, wet hair smacking our backs. Splinters in our palms, we plotted
our next climb.
From the school roof, the town glowed fairy tale good.

--Kate Evans
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