• Vol. 08
  • Chapter 07

Afternoon Swim

My dad blew up the dragon
with air from the pump in the garage.
Whirr, click, whirr, click, whirr, click.
It puffed and curled and grew,
a plastic coil of brilliant white
unfurling like a ground cloud,
taller than me,
bigger than anything
in the neighborhood.

Its face filled last,
whiskers like tentacles
puffing out in a mane,
a look of surprise on its face
mirroring the look on mine.
Try it, Dad said. He tossed it,
light and floaty,
across the driveway.

I stepped back,
hands up, eyes shut,
but it found me anyway,
hot plastic stretched and ready.
It bent and bowed in the breeze,
wanting—needing—to enter the pool.
Hot sun reflected off the brilliant white.
Its eyes pleaded for a push.


Afternoon Swim

I dipped my toe,
scooped a handful of water
to splash on my shoulder,
eyed the dragon sideways.
It splashed when Dad tossed it,
floated lazy circles
on its side,
eyes asking the question:
are you coming in?

When its back was turned,
its eyes gazing at apple trees,
I jumped,
a cannonball splash
that sent the dragon spinning.
I kicked. I dove. And then…
I came up inside its coils,
let them wrap around me,
hold me, hug me.
I became part of the dragon.
Our giant white head,
no longer sideways,
towered above the water.
Its mane fluttered and dripped.

We crossed the pool,
hand in spirals,
bigger, stronger,
more sure.