The Swimmer

by Meredith Davies Hadaway

She never really learned to walk on land—
preferred the swell of wave,

the liberty of nothing underfoot.
She moved through water with efficiency

that frightened me, each slicing arm in rhythm
and glide toward a place I couldn’t follow.

Every other turn of head, a breath drawn in, so
confident there would be another. And when

her face submerged, I knew she looked
at something only she could see:

Exotic, like her Hawaiian childhood. Erotic,
like the sudden pulse that made her leave it

all behind for him, our father, a man of the sea;
for us, her all-too-human tribe, who waited

on the shore, lumbering, two-legged,
in her wake.

Meredith Davies Hadaway is the author of two poetry collections, The River is a Reason and Fishing Secrets of the Dead. In addition to publishing poems and reviews in various literary journals, she serves as poetry editor for The Summerset Review. Hadaway is VP of College Relations and Marketing for Washington College.