by Patrick Swaney
Bathtub for a giant
We walked into Lake Michigan until the water
was chest high. We ran in place, and twisted
and churned the soft, sandy lake floor, clouding
the clear surface, carving out individual craters
until the water was neck and chin deep.
We caught a little water in our mouths
and spouted it out in no direction.
We stepped out of the holes and stepped
back in to feel how it felt and we agreed
from here that the shore and the horizon
looked different than they had before.
We stepped out of the holes and feigned
falling off some deep edge, oblivious.
We feigned struggling, one arm and hand
above water, briefly a head. We were kids.
We said help and save me. We laughed.
We said the lake could be a bathtub for a giant
and this was not funny but also not not funny
to picture the world on a more manageable scale.
We wondered how long it would take
for the small waves, if they stayed small,
to fill in the small holes we were standing in.
Not long, we decided. Less time if the waves,
as they threatened to do, became big
and then bigger waves. And if the waves
became so big that they spilled over
the container of the lake, what could we do?
We’d call this new bigger lake the lake, the new
shore, the shore, the horizon, the horizon.
"Bathtub for a Giant" was noted as Honorable Mention for our 2017 Up North Poetry Prize.
Patrick Swaney received a PhD in Creative Writing from Ohio University. He teaches literature and creative writing at Catawba College in Salisbury, NC. His writing has appeared in the Asheville Poetry Review, Conduit, The Southeast Review, and elsewhere.