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Issue #1 |

Lifeguard

Spread on my towel, I try to pretend I am a sponge, that it is raining. The sun on my skin. It’s five pm, and the only thing that feels hot to me now is another breakup. I’m forty-three years old and this one went on for two years before I started voicing disappointment. The sign says, “No swimming,” though I’ve swum here times before with members of my tri club. The water is shallow enough for my feet to touch the mud, the rocks, the seaweed. I swam here once alone, when it was hot, and the water was stinky. Now I smell my sweat from my fifteen-mile bike ride. I close my eyes and hear the waves. I hear the seagulls calling. I try to do the corpse pose, like I learned in yoga, but instead I picture life as Spider-Man. A life of timbering wood. I get back on my bike and I ride further down, to the top of a hill, where windmills spin. Where my boyfriend used to take my pictures with my arms out, where I danced and jumped and whirled.

Kim Chinquee is the author of six books, most recently Wetsuit (Ravenna Press, 2019). Her five other collections are Oh Baby, Pretty, Pistol, Veer, and Shot Girls. She is a regular contributor to NOON, Denver Quarterly, Conjunctions, and has also published work in Ploughshares, The Nation, Story Quarterly, Fiction, Mississippi Review, and over a hundred …

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