Say I forgot

Say I forgot how to love you, the way
when I was eight I forgot how to swim?
Could you steel yourself as my mother did
when she enrolled me in lessons for the holiday,
sat up in the stalls with a four-year-old
every morning for a month and afternoons
took me swimming herself in a learner pool
let me grip her hands willing me to let go?
I don’t know what makes a child doubt
the water is able to keep her afloat,
think that the other side is too remote
but if I froze, could you wait it out
until I’m propelled again towards your smile
and wrapped tight in your towel like the first time?

from Furniture (Picador, 2009), ? Lorraine Mariner 2009, used by permission of the author and the publisher

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