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Malena Mörling

Malena Mörling

Malena Mörling is the author of two books of poetry, Ocean Avenue (New Issues, 1999) and Astoria (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2006). Her work has appeared in numerous publications including The New York Times Book Review, The New Republic, Ploughshares, and Five Points. She received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2008 and she is teaching at The University of North Carolina, Wilmington.

At the Salvador Perez Pool

This morning, my young son is learning to swim. "Swim!" The swimming instructor yells: "The sharks are coming!" Because the world is exactly what it is, because it's never off, even by a hair, my son does his best to get away from them. But when, after struggling to keep his head up, it is time to do the dead man's float and the instructor shouts: "Float!" it no longer makes sense to him. A dead man does not float. He's not able to push his chest up all the way to the sky—through which the sunlight steadily pours down its silver quiver into the water. Nor for that matter, is he able to extend his arms and legs windmill style and relax all at one and the same time. As my son flails for his life, the instructor shouts: "You fell apart!" "What happened?" "Don't quit!" "Float!"


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