Off the Coast of Naples: Two American Girls Swimming

By Ceciley Pund

Without the fish-glister 

beneath the laze 

our dangled feet, we may 

not know our unbelonging. 


and splash 

our pronouncement 

that we can make 

this splay of fingers 

solid, meet the push 

of water against 

the persistent 

float of our air-bellied 


she sees through horizontal 

blue, a silver, a tail-whip 

a lone wriggle, 

fanning its gills, 

moving closer to the space 

between our toes. 

I look to my sister to decide 

our creature 

our congruity 

but she has already grasped 

rock, pushing up 

reaching through air. 

We have learned to look for signs 

that we are anomalous: 

a feather, a gill, a tongue 

not like ours 

but I was told 

by the wing of my shoulder 

the gill of my lung, the tongue 

licking lemon ice 

that my body 

is one shape 

I am several. 

Ceciley Pund grew up a missionary kid between the American Midwest and Naples, Italy. Not having spent long in either country until her adulthood, her writing and poetry often ponders transience, belonging, and what it means to be foreign. 

Instagram: @cecileyloveon

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