In this late-autumn dusk
trees discard their leaves
like August’s junk lottery tickets.
She stands before the pool,
long since drained of water,
arms raised high, toes curled
over the edge of the diving board.
What makes her want to swim now?
Where was she all summer?
The quiet, clockwork stars
spin on their eternal vinyl sphere
as she closes her eyes, bends her knees.
She’s grown fat with sweet wine
she can no longer taste.
Her suit fits like a catcher’s mitt.
Grass grays in patches like stubble
on an old man’s face,
so she looks skyward, heavenward,
and launches herself into frigid night,
into emptiness cold as a new grave.
by James Valvis
James Valvis has placed poems or stories in Arts & Letters, Barrow Street, Ploughshares, River Styx, The Sun, and many others. His poetry was featured in Verse Daily. His fiction was chosen for Sundress Best of the Net. A former US Army soldier, he lives near Seattle.