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A Journal of Haibun & Tanka Prose
Bob Lucky, General Editor & Ray Rasmussen, Technical Editor
January 2020 Vol. 15 No. 4

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Peter Jastermsky

In the Swim

Shivering naked with all the other grade schoolboys, he waits for the instructor to tell him to jump in. An unexpected slap on his back and he falls into the water, which feels even colder than the air in the gym. A lifeguard, whose laugh he still can hear, tells him, “Let your face get wet.” He waits an instant too long and an immense hand pushes his head under the water. A feeling for which he has no name fills his stomach.

As soon as he can, he wobbles out of the pool. He tells the lifeguard he needs to pee, and the guy just laughs. “Don’t do it here!”

At home, his parents ask, “Did you learn to swim today?” He turns away, before the tears. “Don’t worry, dear,” they say, “we’re sending you back next week.”

shattered teacup
to find a handle
before losing it


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