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The Empty Pool by Sue Ellen Thompson

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.

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