Academic journal article Michigan Quarterly Review

Swimming Walden Pond

Academic journal article Michigan Quarterly Review

Swimming Walden Pond

Article excerpt

Bless me, Henry David, to glide like muskrat or eel, or at least not sink like a boot. My first time neck deep in Walden. This is no pond, sir, but a kettle lake, glacier carved, which I'm crossing with two women. Thirteen years ago, I lay down with the first, and nine laborious months later snipped the umbilical of the second. With blood as my witness, that placenta I carried home and planted for luck glowed like a city. Cold as regret, this water. More green than froggy, it lips my mouth and lets me float atop 100 feet of my fears. I d rather be eaten by cancer than drown. I don't admit this to my daughter, crying now, who wants to turn back. Can't, I tell her, were in the middle of it-as near to far as Emerson ever was to clarity. So we brave drizzle, salute a shirtless man in a lemon kayak, and cock our heads at an ice cream truck tinkling its chocolate promises. And now, I who have passed through deep water let water pass through me. What a wet know-nothing I am. It wasn't till my daughter was doing kick turns in utero that I learned amniotic fluid is mostly urine. …

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