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This poem is taken from PN Review 227, Volume 42 Number 3, January - February 2016.

Two Poems Nick MacKinnon
If Dad had been a swimmer he’d have seen
that Mum’s alternate-breath American crawl
with six kicks to the cycle must have been

acquired in private lessons at the pool
off Buckhurst Way. It was her tumble turn
that tipped him off at last: quick at the wall,

flip, flash of calves and tie-sides in the chlorine,
then tuck, spin, surge, to leave an elegant knot
tied in her wake. Dad could only imagine

the things that Uncle Les must do to get
that breathless self-embracing soixante-neuf
so smooth. Stood like a poacher at his net

he bends her round a forearm at her midriff,
shoves her head down, strokes a wet electric
hourglass round her hips to shape the push-off,

takes her ankles in one hand, his thick
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