Poem 234 ± January 24, 2016

Wendy Vardaman
cognitive dissonance

sometimes it seems like diving, dying,
prising free feet that grip the pool’s edge,
while overhead
the locked-straight arms start to shake, the instructor counting
to three again, waiting,
waiting, for you to let
go, for you to ascend or descend,
but no one can convince you of anything

other than what you already know:
solid surfaces do not yield
to persuasion, reason, eloquence, impassioned pleas, exasperated
commands to tuck the chin, to follow
the less than sign of twinned fingertips, to slide
in, certain that you will not, will not, gracefully thrown stone, slip through.

Wendy VardamanWendy Vardaman is the author of the poetry collections Reliquary of Debt (Lit Fest Press, 2015) and Obstructed View (Fireweed Press, 2009). She co-edited the anthologies Local Ground(s)—Midwest Poetics: Selected Prose Verse Wisconsin 2009–2014, (Cowfeather Press, 2014), Turn Up the Volume (Little Bird Press, 2013), and Echolocations: Poets Map Madison (Cowfeather Press, 2013). Her poems, reviews, and interviews have appeared in Poetry Daily, Rattle, and Portland Review, among many other journals and anthologies. With Sarah Busse, she co-founded Cowfeather Press and co-edited the journal Verse Wisconsin. Wendy lives in Madison, Wisconsin.

This poem is not previously published.