Produced by Maine Poetry Central and Dennis Camire

This week’s poem is by Bruce Spang, the former poet laureate of Portland. His most recent book is “Boy at the Screen Door” by Moon Pie Press.


The Swim

By Bruce Spang


My mother told me years ago that when the time came

she’d like to swim out into the ocean, swim out until


nothing was left but the sea, the sea and herself.


Now at 98, her cane skitters ahead of her

as if no longer beholden to terra firma. The sea,

whatever lure it had, comes in and goes out waving



like an old friend who misses her and, in the manner

of faded photographs — has her knee-deep in surf

at Jones Beach. Waves nip at her. In 1938, she could


swim for hours on a hideaway for honeymooners.

Each summer the lure of it brought her back to take us,


her two boys, to spend days leaping over waves,


holding her hand, Jump, jump, the surf tickling our feet.

Any wonder that I want some days, obedient to its call,

to take her to the water’s edge, to hold her hand



as she held mine and let her lean in and the water

welcome her as someone who has not forgotten,

her graceful stroke carries her over one,


then another wave, until she’s far out

and stops, treading water, looking back

waves at me, then turns and swims into herself.


Dennis Camire can be reached at [email protected]

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