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Contributor: Nicolina Barone

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Thirteen feet deep,
in the deep end of the pool,
their pool,
not my home.

The blue gets darker the deeper I go,
the blue diving rings now an off-
the apathetic hands that have
worn the paint away.
One appears new,
yet the guilt of choosing it
nearly chokes me
knowing that the rest would lay there helpless.

I feel myself going deaf,
muffled voices and sounds,
sounds that I hear at 6am
when my little brother gives up on
sleep. The dreams that make him squeal,
an ache in my ears at six feet.

I push the water out of the way,
my fingers wrinkle like my shirts,
each one tattered, holes poking through,
some even exposing the birth-
mark on my shoulder.

The mosaic pool tiles melt their colors into one another,
bits of algae cradled by the water, swaying
from side to side …

My sinuses cannot take
the foul smell of
urine triumphs --
Remember the cold basement?
I was eleven years old
piss pads and cat litter surrounded
my spot for sleep, my dirty sheet, the door with no handle---
the smell of the chlorine is barely here
at eleven feet.

The water is still for a second,
my cheeks balloon,
and my chest gives way.

- - -
Nicolina Barone is a junior at Pompton Lakes High School hoping to continue her studies, specifically English in college. She has loved writing and poetry since she was a little girl and is so excited to share her poetry with the world, especially because this is her first time submitting to a journal!


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