The Empty Pool
by Sue Ellen Thompson
published in The Summerset Review, Spring 2010
This is the place where my sisters and I
lay all afternoon on plastic rafts,
too listless to shift our weight
or direct our idle drifting. At the click
of the gate, we'd lift our heads
as if from our sickbeds, and there
our mother would be: white shorts,
white shirt, hair fading to gray,
with a tray of cold drinks and sandwiches.
This is the place where, on a hot June day
five summers ago, I pulled myself
from the water's embrace to dress
for her doctor's appointment.
Now her chaise lies bleached and frayed,
and in the breeze the deep end sways
with a cold, dark soup of leaf-rot.
This is the place where she ministered to us
until we were well into middle age—
until that day when the doctor tapped lightly
and asked to come in, and she roused herself
from the torpor of waiting
to see what he had brought her.