Sliding into the scene, self-conscious
in a green bikini
she spots a tiny, slimy mime –
mini jazz-hands pawing tiled surfaces.

“But you’re amphibious,” she tells the frog,
trying to dislodge
him from one socket
of her goggles
onto concrete.

She swims laps, but sees the frog is trapped –
trembling in the sun as hawks and aircraft swoop
to landing. She hovers with a rescue helicopter: a flip-flop.
But over ground – quivering on tiptoe – she’s too
big. A peep, a leap: a bullet bolts down through bleachy blue.

So now she’s a submarine; a leaf-from-underneath is a frog on the surface.
Tucked taut in the goggle-puddle, the tight parcel is
posted through iron gates into pond-side grass.
The gritty green water is better than neat turquoise

For a frog. She swims
like him now, dark fingernails splayed,
grasping, pushing the water – strong and safe
in the wet world, for today.

Swimmers_JCMIIPoet: Jane Boxall
Illustrated by Jon Munson II

‘Swimmers’ was Highly Commended in the Poems Please Me Prize 2015

Jane Boxall is a professional percussionist and writer. Born in England and raised in Scotland, she is currently based in Nashville, Tennessee.
website: janeboxall.com

See other illustrations of this and all winning and commended poems in our eBook Red on Bone