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

Teaching Tammy Faye's Daughter to Swim by Joy Roulier Sawyer

Cup your hands like this, I said,

and when your arm comes out of the pool,

just roll your head to the side for air


She giggled, slurped water, puffed her

chipmunk cheeks and squirted me

through gaps in her teeth


Later, we climbed out and dangled our feet,

her baby fat pooched over her swimsuit

like white-flour dumplings


Then we heard two pool workers picking up Coke cans behind us


They bought another Rolls Royce yesterday.

Makes me sick


          Wonder how many little old ladies            

          paid for that


They laughed like the shrill whine of the pool’s vacuum


I turned and looked Tammy Faye's daughter straight in the eye,

but she'd disappeared—


          gone scuba diving in Maui,


enough oxygen strapped to her back

so she'd never have to surface


Joy Roulier Sawyer holds an MA from New York University, where she received the Herbert Rubin Award for Outstanding Creative Writing. She is the author of Tongues of Men and Angels (White Violet Press, 2016), and her poetry appears in such diverse publications as Books & Culture, LIGHT Quarterly, Lilliput Review, New York Quarterly, St. Petersburg Review, Theology Today, and others. Joy teaches at Lighthouse Writers Workshop in Denver. 

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