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The Dangers of Level 3 Swimming Lessons
Jeremy Caldwell

His head was an apple
chest proud, deadman's float
while rows of parents looked on
with drowsy interest

little tadpoles the instructor calls them
which I never understood
considering tadpoles are born to swim
no real learning curve required

Don't be scared, it's only water
you drink it everyday
take baths in it
rinse your hands in it

seventy percent of the earth is it
even get blessed by a
two thousand year old dead man from it
and yet, too much of it hurts

like six weeks ago, when uncle Simon
who smoked a pack a day
died not from lung cancer
or coronary heart disease

but from a power washer,
that hit a piece of scrap metal
cut a windpipe and held nothing back
lying in blood like syrup

my son, awakens from his watery slumber
frog croaks of water in his throat
looks at me and says
he wishes for a bigger pool

Jeremy Caldwell is an M.A. student in Creative Writing at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he enjoys reading, sports, and the occasional baklava if he's feeling naughty. He lives in Lincoln, Nebraska with his wife and son.