“Swash Zone” by Nancy Carol Moody
Breathing is primary; speech, secondary. Absent breath, speech
does not occur. If the woman cannot breathe, she cannot scream.
on the shoreline
a young girl, giggling
The drowning woman extends her arms outward so that she may
push down on the surface of the water, an action which forces
her body upward, permitting her to breathe. This movement is not
voluntary. It is impossible for her to signal for help.
a gull’s outstretched wings
riding the currents
There is no evidence of kicking action, yet the woman remains
upright. The mouth sinks and reappears above the water line. There
is insufficient time to inhale. 20 to 60 seconds remain.
into shifting sand
small fingers follow
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Nancy Carol Moody Artist Statement: Nancy Carol Moody is the author of two collections of poetry, The House of Nobody Home (FutureCycle Press, 2016) and Photograph with Girls, as well as Mermaid, an 8-poem chapbook from the Infinities series of Tiger’s Eye Press. Her work has appeared in The Gettysburg Review,
The Southern Review, The Los Angeles Review and Nimrod. When she’s not on a train, Nancy lives and writes in Eugene, Oregon.