Nightswimmer’s Purgatorial

by on Nov 19, 2015

Not drowning in regrets, but he’s out too far,
where the rip-tide waylays him. He swallows
a lung-full. It proves easier to drift
even further lake-ward rather than swim in
to his clothes and keys. Go with the current,
he figures. He reaches an island’s beach strip,
it’s a couple acres, unpopulated. He spits
out the lake, then waits for morning light
to make an attempt at the mainland.
Strength can renew with a few hours’ rest.
He’ll try, if no boaters pass sooner.
There could be a search, if a beachcomber
stumbles on his shirt and shoes
by the high-line where the tide turns.
The Nightswimmer, weakened, winded,
doesn’t know how this will resolve,
but he isn’t drowning, yet.


Todd Mercer, a middle-brow writer, won the Grand Rapids Festival of the Arts Flash Fiction Award for 2015. His digital chapbook Life-wish Maintenance appeared at Right Hand Pointing. Recent poetry and fiction appear in Eunoia Review, Kentucky Review, The Legendary, Literary Orphans, Lost Coast Review and Softblow Journal.

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