Poem – The Last Swim

Over and over I see it
Her last swim
Her tentative step on the sand
Small aqua booties
Small feet
Hair, soft as a baby’s
Short tufts, blond and white
Stolen by chemo
Her inner-city-trendy cut we call it
My sister and I
One on each arm
As she enters the water
Step by slow tentative step
It’s been a while, she says
And then, the water waist high
She no longer fears the small, incoming waves
She lets go of our arms
And she swims…

At first she lies back in the water
Letting its watery fingers caress her body, her head
She floats and gazes at the sky
Lovely, so lovely, she says

Lovely, so lovely, it is
Her beaming face, her eyes half-closed
In those blue-green waters
That perfect cerulean sky…

And then she turns over
Treading water, arms making small arcs
We watch her
And remember countless summers
When she watched us from the shore…
But now
As the evening sun mottles gold foil on her skin
She turns away from us, lifting her arms
In a strong freestyle stroke
And swims
Away from us
Stronger than us now
Alone, not looking back -
Away from the shore…

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