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Swim Practice
Jessica Lynne Furtado
Writer of the Month

Forgetting how to swim
was like losing language,
a silencing of the limbs
that once knew fluid
like the vein of a wrist,
the curve of an eyelash.
The back of the hand
forgot its placement, 
lost track of where it
should fall to propel weight. 
Frozen, I stayed in place. 
Felt my frame sink
like a chained magician
attempting to escape, to survive
the trick I played on myself.

Imagine if I’d drowned.

The obituary would say
Girl once thought to have gills
becomes an Ophelia complex.

Fumbling like a carp caught
in a net, I managed to haul
this dumb body to the embankment,
watch myself retch the bit
of pond clawing at my esophagus.
Sprawled in the sun, fists fat
with sand, lungs still searching
for breath, I let myself go red
and listless as a poppy before
rising again, craving water’s cold,
clean caress to sooth screaming skin.

Sink or swim? To be determined. 

Jessica Furtado is a poet, photographer, & owner of the popular Etsy shop All You Need is Pug, whose products have been featured in Fortune, Daily Mail, InTouch Magazine, FYI Pets, & Cesar’s Way, and whose shop was noted as an Etsy Featured Seller. Her work has previously been published under the pseudonym JJ Lynne, with photography and micro-poem collages appearing in CALYX, Muzzle, PANK, and The Brooklyn Quarterly. Her writing can be found in apt, Hobart, A Narrow Fellow, Rust + Moth, Spry, and Stirring, among others. Jessica is co-editor of poetry for the literary journal Paper Nautilus and works by day as an Early Childhood Literacy Librarian. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two rambunctious rescue dogs.