Swimming to the Rock

by Mary Atkinson


My father and brothers

are swimming to the Rock.

“Come with us!”

they call to me

and I say

“Maybe next year.”


The Rock is very, very far away.


I sit on the dock

with my peanut butter sandwich.

I watch them

dive into the water

and swim into the distance

their kicks and

splashes and elbows

getting smaller and smaller

as they near the Rock.


It takes them a long, long time.


They arrive and pull themselves to stand

and wave their arms in the air.

I can’t see it but I know their hands are in fists

I can’t hear it but I know they are cheering

Even the loons call to celebrate their arrival!


I sit on the dock

dangling my feet in the water

counting dragonflies


My father and brothers

come closer

and from the water

lift their faces with

wild wet smiles

And I think


This year!