Lauren Greathouse, Below Bruarfoss. Iceland, 2016. (Artist Website)
Archival pigment print
11.4 x 17.25”

In harder play,
I held you maybe five, six under
at Kent Park reservoir,
a picnic,
cookout, walk, ice cream,
the biggest blackberries in Iowa,
a 4H entry for the State Fair, for sure!
laughing so hard
the August juice ran down your chin,
jumping back in.
You tugging my legs, splashing too much perhaps,
So I held you under longer, laughing,
muffling your gurgled flail.
I swear it was only seconds, only joking,
you came up gasping, gulping
and we paddled apart, doing dead-man floats.
You’d always remind me, later,
but I meant no harm.

Oh, tell me again,
how long I washed your face once in snow,
done under, after too many snowballs
you packed mean, your aim sure.
I took advantage, knowing
we’d always come up after.

practice, for your walk into water
—something mad always tails something funny—
seventeen years later,
streaming, deliberate, dazed.

And the harm
done, harder
the harm

Sharon Kennedy-Nolle