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At the Stone Pier
by Isobel Cunnngham

Your hand held me up.
“Kick, love, and paddle like a dog
with your arms.”
Your hand
firm under my belly
below the water,
held me up.

“That’s the way. Splash with your feet.
We’re only going along-side the shore,
not out deep.
Dad would never take you
out deep.”

The water, salty,
swelling up under me
in the little cove, buoyed me up.
My mother watched
from the stony beach.

“Not too fast now.
Take your time. The water
will carry you.”

The water? But you
were carrying me,
holding me up!

Then I saw
I had swum
quite far from your hand.
You laughed
and quickly swam to me,
to hold me up
one last time.

“That’s my swimmer!”

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: This picture was taken in Tenby in South Wales in the summer of 1954.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Isobel Cunningham was born in Wales and after wandering around the world to places like Poland, Greece, and the Canadian Arctic where she taught English, she is now retired and living in her true home, Montreal, Canada. She is a volunteer guide at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. She has published one collection of poetry, Northern Compass, and is presently working on a collection of short stories.