the healing muse

Volume 12, 2012

The Drowned Girl

Tish Pearlman

meet me there
near where the undertow
meets the body    locked in tossing
currents
where is horizon?
where is shore?    tumbling
I recall the drowned girl
she was a Mexican (they all whispered)
visiting Lake Gregory, not one of us
probably couldn’t swim (they all whispered)
lost her way
I could have been her
about my age
gelatinous substance on her mouth
long dark hair cascading
lying limp on the sand.    a crowd gathered
almost a dream, that summer memory
and afterward,
we went back to our towels
soaked in the sun, swam in the lake
never realizing that that late
morning in the mid-60’s
would follow us
hand in hand with
the drowned girl who
could have been one of
us, not forgotten, but lost
still,
lying forever on the sand—
tell me, did you
have a name?
drowned girl was a destination,
but it could not have been
your name.

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