• notdeermag

In a pool somewhere in Georgia, Karly Jacklin

CW: death, drowning


someone mistook your drowning for a teenage boy’s pissing contest,

the kind that happens while everyone is turned away,

doing anything loud enough to cover the sound of an accident,

like how nothing can be an emergency

if the face pressed down on the white linoleum

is only testing its lung capacity,

how nothing matters except the dirt on the feet

of the swan divers whose toes just barely touched your back,

how you coughed when they pulled you out, how you kept dying anyway,

how nothing feels real until it suddenly becomes synchronized,

how by this time next week I’ll have caught up with your age

the way I said I would when I was too young to know better,

how this time it’ll be real,

how nineteen is your own dead body driving its ghost to the children’s hospital

saying “I know it’s not a kid, just fix the broken nose,”

how I float all of my body just barely beneath the cold water

of a pool somewhere in Maine,

how an old woman pulls me up by the hair

to tell me this is how to die prematurely, to tell me

how you only need two inches to suffocate in there.


Karly Jacklin is a poet and Ohioan currently pursuing a BFA at the University of Maine at Farmington. Her work has appeared most recently in Atlas & Alice, The Pacific Review, and The River. She lives in western Maine with her girlfriend, with whom she drinks many oat milk lattes.

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