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.
I'm standing in the wind.
We had five years left to cry,
stay in, get things done.
The wordy gurdy stands
quiet in the middle of my head;
missing pieces [with just enough
shine] rubber-banded tog-
Back then, when she rose
from her beach chair, the weave imprinted itself
on the backs of her jiggly thighs.
Who would have carried it this far,
up the crest between watersheds,
then quit before the downhill?
This was your domain.
Pocket jingling a handful of brads, flat pencil behind your ear,
you’d bore through the browsers; pay and go.
When you rose from the sea
the crown of your head
touched the clouds
A conveyor belt delivers mutton and fowl.
Hot meringues suffer and collapse
under my ruthless fork.
His breath tripped over words stuck between his teeth
and tongue as sinewy shoulders curved.
The child stood, small, shivering in her tattered brown coat,
a dented, scuffed brown suitcase gripped in her hand.
mushrooms, beets, carrots, cabbage,
uncle’s ashen face.