national anthology of the best undergraduate writing 2014

Re: Backstroke

Michaela Cowgill  • 
American University

A boy falls into the Northwood lake.

Everything is on fire and blue;

all the wax melted off his wings.

Upside down, on his back, thrashing and raking the blue.

He looks like someone I know.

One arm rising up into the cotton sheet of the sky,

the other swinging down to grab thick mud.

Waving to the red-throated loon above,

loving the brook trout with their smooth bellies below.

He almost looks happy.

I call out to him again and again.