Learning to swim.

like a frog she said
draw your knees up…
heels together
I am cupped in a canvas sling
she holds the pole and rope
and walks the pool’s rim
...and kick …and kick…
No – like a frog

I never master it
my right leg corkscrews
untidy disobedient limb
although I do learn to swim
dive through the sting
of thin bleach
lift the black rubber brick
leap from the top board in pyjamas
do a full length underwater

here in this blue eye
under the June sun
I swim solitary
one length lapping
into the wake of the last
my right leg not obliging
me with symmetry

in the deep end
I found a dead frog
hard and leathery
subtle olive skin drained bleak
by chlorine
I hold the long pole with the net
and tip him on the compost
back in the water
I swim tight-lipped

                        Jan Dean

About Jan Dean

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