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At Seventy

Sep. 25, 2011
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At seventy, the thing she wanted
to learn was to dive:

to tuck her chin to her chest, between
her outstretched arms and to fall

headfirst toward the bottom she had both
feared and yearned for since she had

first seen water—the still pool
untouched, unrippled, heavy with meaning

and promise: to feel its cool caress, hear
the bubbles of breath leave her body, see

the illusion of being enclosed utterly by blue;
to know that she could aim her body down,

then up, and it would joyously comply,
her remaining breath buoying her up, up,

up to break the surface of the old familiar
world as if rising from sleep; it was something

like flying, she thought, something like
taking off from one medium and trying on

another, shedding one set of rules for a second:
one which both frightened and enthralled,

a kind of life to which she had always been born,
on the edge of which she has been forever poised.


A Pushcart nominee, Kathleen Dale’s prize-winning poems have appeared in many national and local journals. Her chapbook Ties that Bind (2006) was published by Finishing Line Press. “At Seventy” is taken (though with a new title, and in a slightly different form) from her new chapbook, Rescue Mission, to be published this fall by Antrim House Press.


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