Adam Tavel: "My Wife's Swimming Lessons at Hampshire Heights Apartments"



          Toledo, 2004


The largest pool in Lucas County gleamed

that June we watched the college kids retreat.

Their languid stream flowed south on Middlesex

beyond the feeble storms of dumpster flies

swooping beer cans and busted neon signs.

Dingy jeans lay puked across each rear dash.

Side by side in slatted chairs we cupped our hands

and stroked the breeze. There flared my ancient fear—

the six-foot end, pristine as cellophane

taut across an uniced cake, seemed too clear

to tolerate my clumsy kick and splash.

What makes a woman reach across the sea?

Through goggles fogged I found your arms and grasped

so sun could stun me as I spat and gasped.


Adam Tavel won the Permafrost Book Prize for Plash & Levitation (University of Alaska Press, 2015). He is also the author of The Fawn Abyss (Salmon Poetry, forthcoming) and the chapbook Red Flag Up (Kattywompus, 2013). Tavel won the 2010 Robert Frost Award and his recent poems appear in Beloit Poetry Journal, The Gettysburg Review, Sycamore Review, Passages North, The Journal, and American Literary Review, among others.