At Thirty

...I fled from my life
 in a hailstorm and firestorm...

At Thirty

At thirty, I fled from my life

in a hailstorm and firestorm, into what
I termed “the big rest,”
 
unpacked at my mother’s house,

slept in my sister’s bed,

signed up to swim at the Y, swam twice
 
daily, in the mornings

with patients doing recovery exercises
in the shallow end,
 
afternoons hung the damp suit,
black flag, on the line,
microwaved a meal, then napped,
 
the sleep my calamine, chlorine

my medicine, my weakness everywhere,
I could barely stand,
 
I swam the evenings, before closing,
reciting poems silently

from the mind’s anthology,
 
I was alone, backstroking

through that humid chamber, beneath
frescoes of dolphins and nymphs,
 
I floated, a baby in her crib,
mesmerized by those gentle images—
for a long time it was like this.
 

bohince swallows

 

 

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“At Thirty,” a poem by Paula Bohince. ©2012 Paula Bohince. Used by permission. This poem originally appeared in Granta.


Thanks to our crowdsourced voiceover contributors: JOHN W. GOODMAN, JEANNIE E. ROBERTS, LOUIS MURPHY, AMY MILLER, JEN JABAILY BLACKBURN, VERONICA SUAREZ, CARRIE SIMPSON, MICHELLE MEYER, JULIET PATTERSON, WILL CAMPBELL, CLARE MCWILLIAMS

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