Archives for posts with tag: Minneapolis

How to Float
by Sara Lynne Puotinen

Try to
imagine you’re
light lighter the lightest
high higher the highest, the most

when your daughter
cradles you in the shallow
water. Carrying you like a

You two
laughing splashing
forgetting gravity.
Unburdened by weight, land’s logic.

Pretend you are
sparkling grapefruit water
excessively effervescent

there. Only a
hint of flavor, mostly
fizziness shimmering at the

Do not
think about what’s
below or not below
you. In fact, do not think at all
just be

Calm. Not Heavy.
Almost bursting with air.
Breezy & Loose. Liberated.

Flat. Stretched.
Reaching out. Be
the horizon that cuts
through sky water, above beneath.
Be the

big bridge
spanning the lake.
Delivering the goods.
Linking lands and worlds and lives in

in breath and your
body’s ability
to not stay sunk but to rise up,
to float.

IMAGE: Woman floating by Jennifer Bartlett (1997), used by permission.


NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Mid-June through the end of August is open swim season in Minneapolis. For two hours three times a week, you can swim back and forth across Lake Nokomis. I have been participating since 2013. I swim across the lake and then later, I write about what I remember doing/feeling/noticing during my swim in an online log. In 2018, I turned these log entries into a series of poems. This particular poem was inspired by a memory of swimming with my daughter, the desire to reflect on the joy of weightlessness, and my love of Adelaide Crapsey‘s cinquain.

PHOTO: Lake Nokomis, Minneapolis, Minnesota (October 7, 2017) by Thomson200, used by permission.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sara Lynne Puotinen lives in south Minneapolis, Minnesota, near the Mississippi River Gorge, where she reads and writes and tries to be upright and outside as much as possible. She earned a B.A. in religion, an M.A. in ethics, and a Ph.D in women’s studies, which all inform her experiments in paying attention and her playful troubling of what it means to write while running (or swimming or moving), to run while writing, and to do both while losing her central vision from a degenerative eye disease. Her most recent project, Mood Rings, is a series of nine poems about her moods as she loses her central vision from cone dystrophy, using her blind spot and the Amsler grid as form. For more of her work, visit


“…our restaurants, motels, and watering places represent a kind of charged field where ordinary events — ordering a meal, spilling a little wine, remembering a certain bird — take on a significance that can only be called mythical, and that our writers, when they enter that field, know, instinctively y now, that they are in such a significant place.” 

From Gerald Stern‘s preface to Night Out: Poems About Hotels, Motels, Restaurants, and Bars, Edited by Kurt Brown and Laure_Anne Bosselaar

Thoughts: What a great concept for a poetry collection! The book — published by the outstanding Milkweed Press in Minneapolis — features the work of 125 poets, including Billy Collins and Charles Simic. Originally released in 1997, Amazon is currently selling copies of this 362-page book for 57 cents plus $3.99 shipping. Find it here.