He bit the side of the big plastic yellow inflatable raft. So they had to swim the rest of the way and walk the loop back. The surface of the lake glistens like fresh ink, clear, dog paddles back and forth, vibrations pulse through the water. Big dog. Shaggy black dog. A girl floats on her back, ribbons of cool running across her body, running across skin smooth enough to drink. She tips over and her feet barely touch the rocks under. ‘Here dog,’ she calls. Her top is too big and the lake caresses the space between her swimsuit and her breasts. Dog brings shoe into water.


Tight muscles wound and coiled. Fireworks of pain burst through with each stroke. There are no pretty blue tips of ships on the horizon. The grit underwater is too far under, the far shore in direction of moving capsule relentless. I sink my teeth into plastic– air rushes into worn lungs.

Breathe in, breathe out. The plastic starts to fold: into itself it collapses. What is the point [of always trailing behind]?


Girl floats on back, waiting for the water to pull her under so she can feel the rush of cold hit her lungs. Her feet hit the bottom with gentle weight. She slowly wades deeper. Again she floats on back, hair flowing– endless petals stemming from her face. Tips of toes on uneven surface. This time she takes down a gulp of water. She scares– she takes a few hurried strokes towards shore.


Head above water she watches me. ‘Here dog.’


Dog is bigger than her. Heavier than her. Dog clings onto her thin body. Long nails digging in as girl struggles to support dog, panting. Dog is close to shore, close to the warmth of sun and metallic rocks. Man tells dog to fetch stick. Dog doesn’t like sticks. Waterlogged they taste like bitter, and they come apart like hairs in the mouth. Paws hit the sand running as shoe travels with dog towards the water and the air fills with bangs of words.


Girl smiles.
‘Here dog, fetch.’
And I go fetch.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. sunnyandwindy
    Jul 02, 2011 @ 22:46:58

    this is so lovely.


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