Weekday Swim

by Caitlin Elizabeth Thomson


There are no whales in the lake,
a mother assures her child. Mine
overhears and starts to hum the theme
song to Jaws. Wrong animal,

I tell him, coating his shoulders
with sunscreen, smearing his face
with warrior stripes, spreading
them out as he squirms. He’s ready 

for the water now, but I have a clock, 
that counts down the time
till his protective coating dries. 
He ignores the buckets

brought for sandcastles and goes
straight to the water’s edge, patrolling
the shore from there, walking
from one side of the roped off beach

to the other. The water laps up
to his ankles, as he scans the lakeside
for families. He is looking for
children to play with, 

but age is a tricky thing. I shout my
approval and head to the muddy
shallows so I can watch as he wades
into the weedy lake.



Caitlin Elizabeth Thomson is preoccupied with absence. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous places, including: The Literary Review of Canada, Liner, EDGE, Echolocation, and the anthology Killer Verse. You can learn more about her writing at www.caitlinthomson.com.

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