Scanned digital and film composite
with plastic wrap, 2018
When I am 6 my mother puts me in swim class
summer afternoons I splash in the high school pool
my palms knifing through the chlorine, the world a tint
of aquamarine. My mother wants me to learn to swim
in case all of California plunges underwater, smothered
by water rising from all directions. Never mind
our landlocked city, the miles of highway to the closest beach.
If God forgets us, you have to swim, for your life and also mine.
When I dive for five-pound bricks in the deep end, I think
my mother is fifty bricks or maybe more and I can’t float
to the surface to breathe. How heavy she is and we would be,
together in the flood. The high schooler who teaches my lessons
yells at me to relax she says my backstroke is poor because
I can’t float on my back, spine concave to water, chest open to sky,
eyes in the sun. Because I can’t float at all anymore,
the water rises or I am sinking and the salt bitter taste
I swallow mouthful after mouthful the rest of my life.
Annabelle Y. Tseng is an undergraduate at Princeton University. She is originally from Cupertino, California. • Photo: Ashley Tsai
Sudarsana Mohanty is a New England native currently living in Los Angeles working as a graphic designer. When she isn't designing, she pursues photography and poetry in her spare time and has a love for art history and archaeology. • Photo: Miranda Mu
Return to the top of the page ▲