Poetry Daily: http://www.poems.com/

Learning the Crawl

"There's been a bloody murder
out there." J. points to the flung ring
of feathers in the snow between

houses, a bluish semitransparent
sunkenness in the middle, a surprisingly
beautiful swimming-pool color.

I think swimming pool because
at my age, I've learned to swim a decent
crawl (I watched five YouTube videos

for technique, how to expose
just one goggled eye). I used to watch
Grandfather and Ted Metcalf move

so low in the water their bodies barely
broke the surface. The trudgeon
they called it, not crawl, each stroke

a precipice. Meanwhile, my eyes plumb
the axis of wrecked feathers for what's
both ways sunk. "The lineaments

of gratified desire." That's William Blake.
Lineaments is the word: the ring
of feathers, the blue window through

to what a hawk or something
wanted and took, the sheer emptiness
of it, the swimmingness in my mind

when it sees, even for a secondó
not loss and gain with their nice
lineamentsóbut the uncontrollable,

wild heartless heart that loves us.

Fleda Brown


Number 77 / Spring 2013

To view this poem online, visit the Poetry Daily archive at http://www.poems.com/archive.php
View a large-print version of this poem