I Hung On
to my mother’s toes as she swam
on her back, taking me down
to the narrow end of a mountain creek
then up again.
Placed securely on a little island
with my brother, I watched
as she dropped her head back
under the current, my panic
turning to giggles when, seconds later,
she surfaced, hair slicked back
like a seal, gliding down the creek,
then back to us, again and again.
Each summer I swim across a lake
dammed from a Midwestern river--
at least once,
sometimes again and again.
Missing the place where my swimming
I long for a mountain brook,
but any clear water will do:
shimmering and slippery,
drops gliding over my arms and legs,
I swim hanging on to my mother.
Erna Kelly lives in Eau Claire WI. Recently, one of her poems was chosen for a Sauk County Fermentation Fest Award and Roadside Display. Among recent paper publications are poems in the Aurorean and in Ariel Anthology: 2016. Retired from teaching, she has created a three-week session, "Exploring Poetry," for the Chippewa Valley Learning in Retirement organization, which she leads annually, featuring new themes and approaches each year.