“Water Talk” by Rachael Lyon

06 December 2013 on Poetry   Tags:

We perched ourselves in a curve of the shallow end, and
in that way that two girls giggling amuse themselves,
we talked underwater.

                                         High-pitched, our hair
a mess of floating halo. The title of a movie
or the name of a boy we loved.

We took turns talking and turns listening. Watched
the other with her nose pinched shut,
bubbles erupting from her open mouth

                                                                       like from a fish tank
treasure trunk bellowing. We emerged, snot running
with the chlorinated water down our faces.

I didn't get it! Laughter. Come on! I couldn't get it.
and down again, straining against the underwater loudness
of everything:

                      children diving, drain flaps clapping, coins
falling from the pocket of swim trunks to tink on the pool floor.
Again the bubbles mixed with incomprehensible pitch.

And finally--a dawning. We pushed ourselves up,
faces turned to break the surface, to water-comb our hair
back down to our shoulders. Two girl-heads on the water.

Rachael Lyon is the author of The Normal Heart and How It Works (2011), winner of the White Eagle Coffee Store Press Poetry Chapbook Award and finalist for the Black River Chapbook Competition. She received an MFA in poetry from George Mason University and recently completed a Fulbright grant in Vienna, Austria, where she translated poetry from German. Her poems have appeared in Crab Orchard Review, Hayden's Ferry Review, and elsewhere. She is an academic adviser and creative writing instructor at Penn State.

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