an empty swimming pool

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By Kevin Ridgeway

I see a group of my dead relatives’ ghosts
swimming in the thin air above
the dry dirt cracked concrete
of the empty swimming pool
we used to have parties
grandma did leg lifts in the corner
while my cousins performed cannonballs
off the diving board,
now a web-spun
bed of spiders and sleeping feral cats
I remember swimming to the bottom
of the pool’s deepest end
to touch the face of its ominous
iron drain, thinking that I was
an inch away from water-logged oblivion
today the drain gathers moss,
dust bunnies and algae from the rains
frowning that it can no longer drown
and wiggle at the sky beneath
twelve feet of chlorinated ocean
I can see the ghosts swimming around
it and slowly fade into its
crevices and down into the pipes as the
wind picks up speed, the dirt
flies, and the orange light
of Southern California hits it in
sun-bleached mystery

Originally Appeared in Red River Review; also appears in On the Burning Shore (Arroyo Seco Press).

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