ever since I entered the YMCA
guppy league at age seven I have
never once been able to float on my
I made it all the way to shark level at age twelve
and almost to life guard training before I realized
I hated myself
the way my bathing suit hugged my hips
the way I walked like a duck
and I hated
the water I sunk in as well.
I lied to myself
and my mother
when I told her I didn’t want to
swim ever again.
I told her to give up our summer pass
to a family whose kid would actually enjoy
a private swimming pool.
At age twenty-one I floated on my back
alone in an indoor pool that smelled
and felt like
Hawaii to me
the water was eighty
and the weather was forty five.
My mother was reading
Oprah Magazine in the pool chairs
I was wearing
a black one piece she had given me
and I stared up at the skylight
to see the cloudy Nova Scotia day
and I got lost
I didn’t know which way was earth
the gravitational pull
seems like it doesn’t exist
in pools, I
only knew I was breathing
and that there was light snow falling
covering my skylight
I floated and almost fell asleep
I was so tired
I realized I tried too hard to float
when I was a guppy
and when I was a shark
and everything in between
I tried too hard and didn’t enjoy the water
or my company.
When I gave up caring so did my body
and I floated
until it was dinner time.
Hannah Rucker is a young writer living in Burlington, Vermont. She has a BFA in filmmaking with a specialty in screenwriting from Champlain College. Her love for writing and poetry started after she wrote her first poem at the age of five; first puppy / then puppy / next puppy / last puppy.