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two girls are swimming in two lanes, separate with a timer overhead
            counting up their seconds. it’s a race to first, to the end of the lane,
            to the medals and the glory and the place where water turns into land
            and the dry hugs that wait there. it’s a race and
                             there’s a winner in the pool right now and it’s
             either the girl with the red swim cap
                              or the one whose goggles fall off as soon as
she hits the water.

they are both in high school and they both do not know the other’s name.
             the girl with the loose goggles is the crowd’s favorite, the dark
             horse, the safe bet that she’d probably win hands down if only
                               her goggles had stayed on.
             the one with the red swim cap knows this, and it makes her want to
              kick harder, kick better
              kick through               the water to the girl’s face
and leave a mark and some blood and a half scribbled apology
                        that she will never mean, that they cannot make her mean.

the girl with the loose goggles knows this because she feels it too
                              with all the energy she has left. they are the same. and she whispers
             through the water to listen to how the crowd screams one name and listen
              to how no one knows the other. listen how they want me to win.
              listen to how                i will.
            she has her hands spread out, ready to catch the kick as it
comes to her, ready to hold onto that foot
                              and drag the other
                                                                         down with her.

and for four laps, they cannot remember caring about anything more than the other,
            consuming them viciously and completely much like love would,
                             much like envy would, much like winning will.
they do not know each other’s names but one will go home and say
                        if only my goggles stayed on or
                        if only the people cheered for me or
                        if only she had not been there.
            they do not know the other’s name but

the water they disrupt ripples back and their ripples overreach and touch
                             each other and refuse to be forgotten and both will
                                               go back to their house
            and the girl with the red swim cap’s father who is dead will knock
                      on her bedroom door and ask her how the meet went
                             and he will not leave for years
            and the one with the loose goggles’ father who she wishes were dead
                                              will knock on her bedroom door and ask her
                             how the meet went and he will not leave for
            they will hate each other more if they knew the other
                            had a paradise they do not let themselves dream about.
it is best to let them think that the only thing they do not know
            about the other is their names.

as they keep swimming, first one and then the other a few milliseconds
the one with the red swim cap won’t stop
            kicking the other one’s face
and the girl with loose goggles keeps eating at
                                                          her toes.
preferred title if there were no limit on characters used in titles: "on drowning and swimming and not knowing the difference"

i spent most all of yesterday at a swim meet reading a book of Richard Siken's poetry. Here's my attempt at his kind of style. I definitely won't be doing this often if at all ever again, but I wanted to try. I feel, again, like this could be more complete but I'm pretty sure I lost my train of thought somewhere in it and this is all I have left. Sorry. The spacing looks better in Word, I swear. Sorry again. I have no idea what to call this. 
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TheChesherCat Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
I love the whole theme here of the competition and the emotion underneath it. I love the line "it is best to let them think that the only thing they do not know / about the other is their names," although I question if it should be "they do not know about each other are their names" or "about the other is her name"? Anyway, loved this piece. Beautiful.
muscularteeth Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2014
you took something utterly mundane and made it tragically beautiful. that's art in its truest sense.
DailyLitDeviations Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2014
Your wonderful literary work has been chosen to be featured by DLD (Daily Literature Deviations) in a news article that can be found here. Be sure to check out the other artists featured and show your support by :+fav:ing the News Article.

Keep writing and keep creating.
Synmor Featured By Owner Feb 17, 2014
I love this, it's so intense! I was hooked, the entire way through, pardon the pun, but seriously.
Raevannon Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Wow. I haven't enjoyed a poem like this in a long while.
GuinevereToGwen Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2014  Student Writer
This is one of my favourite poems of yours, which is saying something, because I love all of your poetry. :heart:
Adrolyn Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Well done.  The subject matter is kind of negative, with all the down dragging, but it is well written, I feel.
ghostinafog Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2014
this is amazing.
introverted-ghost Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2014   Writer
I love this.
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Submitted on
February 1, 2014


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