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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 16: 1 Jan. 2023
Poem: 106 words
By Janine Lehane

Swimming Test, Merewether Baths

I range the wet sandstone, plodding 
poolside: breathe, I intone, silently: 
Deliver us from evil, 

honesty erupting through 
household joys and strife: 
I want you to thrive. 

I am nine years only. 
The blazing sun lightens 
visibility to a wash, 

blind stroke after stroke. 
And night after night, wheezing 
darkness and wakefulness, 

while I listen. Duty 
pulls my steps beside 
the green ocean: 

How shall we douse 
the fire 
in her lungs? 

With each nearside 
turn of her head, 
she catches my eye: 

Love can be glum, 
unwavering, on a yellow 

She is eight years only 
and swimming 
for her life. 


Janine Lehane
Issue 16 (1 January 2023)

is a poet and artist who lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina. Her poems appear in Under the Basho, Failed Haiku, Telling Our Stories Press, Hawaii Pacific Review, and elsewhere.

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