The Black Napkin Volume 1 Issue 3 - Page 35


element: water

by Sonia Greenfield

In Latin it’s cella natatoria,

this sultry room where

chlorine needles my nose,

this room where my son

has seen months of lessons

but swims like a wounded

bear, where he performs

his uncoordinated non-

drowning. This boy is unlike

pale dowagers tucked

into suits like casings,

ladies who enter re-born

when they cut through blue

and are all named Grace.

It’s easy to read emergence

from immersion, becoming

from a mother in the name

of this space. It’s uneasy

to see a birth unmade.

In St. Albans a search

has been called off, divers

un-slicked from wetsuits

hung to dry, a man-made

pond cordoned off, a missing

boy found. The infant class

annoys me with Hokey Pokey

while goggles imprint ovals