Tag: Katherine Wiles

Art by Aaron Lelito

Hydrophobia

Golden friends launch like missiles
into aquamarine glinting with diamonds.
Tunneling earthworm, I keep
three points of contact at all times.
They laugh, encourage, bribe, threaten.
“You’ll pop right back up. See?
Just like us.”

Another pool, another hot day
thirteen or fourteen summers before
when I was nothing more than a sinking scrap
of bone and muscle and the waterslide
sent me skimming and proud and plunging and panicking,
a piece of gravel falling to the heart of the stone
before I was caught.

Since when was I like them,
the bold ones, with their boyfriends
and cars and false nails,
hurling themselves into danger
that only I can see?

They call.
They chant.
They promise me that I am wrong,
that this water is as harmless as any other.
My feet are tile.
Finally, a friend gives in. Water
fractures like a stone around us.

NOVUS Literary and
Arts Journal
Lebanon, TN