Natalie E. Illum

CURIOUS GEORGE CAN'T SWIM: A PANTOUM

A swimming pool hotter than bathwater.
Chlorine haze. My mother along the edge
encouraging me, with my Curious George, to swim.
Though I liked the Man with the Yellow Hat better.

Chlorine hazy and my mother at the edge.
Swim teacher says my legs are missing,
though I liked the Man with the Yellow Hat better.
Her hands in the air like a shark fin.

Swim teacher says kick harder.
Doggie paddle and back float are too easy.
I watch for her like a shark fin.
Her muscles slice easily through the water.

Doggie paddle is the easiest, but
you would never survive the high dive.
Teacher’s muscles slicing easily
as you cramp, spasm and sink.

You would never survive the high dive,
or a shark attack. Try to find a ladder
as you cramp, spasm and sink.
Forget ever wearing a bikini.

Or climbing a ladder. The shark attacks,
encouraging me, like a monkey, to swim.
Forget the beauty of bikinis in open water.
Better to hide you in bathtubs.



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