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Amy Nawrocki

Learning to Be Drown Proof

Snatching a breath,
filling lungs and veins
with salt and memories,
holding it, I submerge
the whole of me under.

For hours I will do this:
hands sculling the water, legs
dancing, still attached
at the place of my hip.
The scene around me disappears and
I am in Naxos again
and it is harvest time.
Each tree selects its best and blackest olive.

I hold in the cup of my hand
the pages of my life, dog-eared,
wet from too much handling
and the long swim.

I turn to page one,
and the first phrase I learned, loving
the underdeveloped syllables, naming
the things I know: tooth, burden,
heart. I am myself, I say.

My body holds its shape
in the whirling pool of water,
now at the point of yielding,
a tree earning its rings.


The hushed news of winterís end
will not reach the earth in time
to speed the patterns of change.
Damp and capable, the first days
of spring chill the ground, the birds,
and the heart. The lustful
frost returns, unexpected, tricking
the panicky bud who peep
through plotted soil, skinny
wholehearted, and fearless,
until the sun eases out again
with its adorned messages
as bright and sweet as ripe honeycomb.

©2006 by Amy Nawrocki

Amy Nawrocki is a poet and teacher living in Hamden, Connecticut. She teaches at the University of Bridgeport, Sacred Heart University, and Housatonic Community College. Her poems have appeared in The Loch Raven Review, PAWPARS, SNReview, Flutter, and Baby Clam Press.

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