Swim to Me

John Brantingham
The Journal of Radical Wonder
1 min readJun 8, 2022

Poem by Carrie Lynne Hawthorne

Enamel painting by Jane Edberg, copyright 2022, all rights reserved.

Mom stands
in her black one-piece
trying not to wet her perm
shoulders glisten with baby oil
arms outstretched
closer I come
farther she gets

belly full of water
I spit a mouthful
of chlorine at her
head goes under
eyes burn
ears flood
sinuses flush

portal of light
streams through her legs
she backs away

​ ​ ​​ reach
​ ​ ​​​ ​ ​​​ ​ ​​​splash
​ ​ ​​​ ​ ​​​ ​ ​​​ ​ ​​​ ​ gasp

her hands grasp mine
I cling to her curves
she slinks up the steps
I suction to
her freckled skin

teeth chatter
she wraps me in
terry cloth hug
concrete sears my feet
sink through
plastic chair slats

sun splits the horizon
halo of white light
she is my shade

Carrie Lynn Hawthorne is a writer and mother from Pasadena, CA. You can find her work in Hennepin Review, Sunlight Press, Cultural Daily, and more. For links to her recent publications, go to carrielynnhawthorne.com.

John Brantingham
The Journal of Radical Wonder

Former Poet Laureate of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks: Education. Nature. Art. Marriage. Nomading. Check out my latest books at johnbrantingham.com.