The Swimming Pool
It’s a shame there is mercy here
where the best love stories begin
with an encounter and end
to your bedroom floor,
a note pinned to my dress:
Do with me what you will.
I’m wrapped in a white bedsheet.
I wade against the deep end,
blurry in every photograph between violence and sleep.
I forget my meds.
You love the way that sets me free--
Be older. Be honest with me--
how long do you plan on living?
Look up at me. Let me
pull you through your past
so often mistaken for glass like my quiet
is often mistaken for cruelty or coyness
or the photograph of a window that gives up
only the ghosts
that corner your everyday blue of sky.
My photos only send you home.
I say this illness beating my brain is brutal.
I say it hurts
to exist like this and the world says
Say something different.
Say anything when
I tell you
about my panic attacks—how time passes strangely.
Time does not pass
at all. My brain is inventing its own nightmare--
as I slip
from my body
slips its bones.
Undewater, I hear a telephone.
Is it you? And if it was
could I answer--
Where are all the fish?
Are we the stylishly drowned?
Jill Mceldowney is the author of the chapbook “Airs Above Ground” (Finishing Line Press) as well as “Kisses Over Babylon” (dancing girl press). She is a cofounder and editor for Madhouse Press. She was a recent National Poetry Series Finalist. Her previously published work has appeared in journals such as Muzzle, Fugue, Whiskey Island, the Sonora Review and other notable publications.