SWWIM publishes, celebrates, & promotes women, women-identifying & Femme-presenting writers through a Miami-based reading series & the online poetry journal SWWIM Every Day.

Mine died when I hit middle age, he still young

at sixty-eight. I’ll never say we’re through.

He is that creature under the cold Atlantic blanket,

migratory mammal, singing a complex song,

large heart beating in time with mine, wide cetacean

smile, throat pleats, fluke, and fin. All that potential

lamplight and winter warmth stored in his immortal bulk.

No harvested baleen, no corset bone. He’ll never stop

his route, though sometimes he needs to breach,

and once I dreamed he beached. I tried to drag him back

to the surf, where the salt could lick his wounds

and he could open one eye to the sun.

But that was a nightmare. The truth is in the Gulf

Stream, dark shadow spouting, swimming with seals.


Rebecca Hart Olander’s poetry has appeared recently in Ilanot Review, Plath Poetry Project, and Solstice, and collaborative work made with Elizabeth Paul has been published in They Said: A Multi-Genre Anthology of Contemporary Collaborative Writing (BLP) and online at Duende. Rebecca won the 2013 Women’s National Book Association poetry contest. She lives in Western Massachusetts where she teaches writing at Westfield State University and is the editor/director of Perugia Press. Find her at rebeccahartolander.com.

Magnetic resonance imaging, Kirkland, 2012//Migraine, St. Paul, 2018

Ambition