I vault, somersault and plunge, an anchor,
into the wetness that tastes like mint. The back
slap knocks my breath. My gasp obliges
the lifeguard to yell at me once,
as if I could catch enough air to answer.
When I was drowning at Adventure Island
in the wave pool deep end, I didn’t know
how far I was from the top. The roar of water
where I stayed for a few moments—the tug
at my navel: a flavor, a scent—and then the barging-
in of hooked arm and the quick pull to the surface.
I was small. Stay out of the deep end, the lifeguard
The guard at Twelve Oaks squints.
She’s seen me swim the length of the pool
underwater to escape the last 500 yards
of swim team practice. Then she laughs
as I sputter in the center of the dive pool,
floating belly up.
The boys on top yell at me to move it
so they can jump. I stare up
at the barely visible tips
of their faces hanging over the edge.
It is our first time, all of us.
I make them wait.
Tricia Asklar received her MFA from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She lives in Rochester, NY, and teaches at Nazareth College. She has had poems in Redactions: Poetry and Poetics, Verse Daily, and Blue Earth Review. She recently collaborated with five other poets on a piece for PUSH Physical Theatre that was performed in Rochester’s Geva Theatre Center.