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After the Swim

10 April, 2021: After the Swim

Read a Poem

After the Swim

By Jimmy Sutman

With a backdrop of beach towels
pinned and flapping
on the clothesline
cheap matador capes, muletas,
stripes of vivid oranges, reds
the one with kittens posing for selfies
the child dances to music
only she
can hear.
She licks ice cream from a wooden stick
in her long, swimsuit cover dress,
outstretches her left arm,
flips from tiptoe to tiptoe.
Her lips move
but no one can hear
what she is saying.
She seems to be listening, too,
for people call her
and some
are long dead.
It’s her childhood calling,
an important call.
Brief, uniquely human,
the oak trees hiss and clatter
then wave their boughs downward.
They prompt her to settle down, be
Storm clouds darken
this sometimes
forsaken haven . . .
marigolds, the old black dog,
banana trees.
“After the Swim” by Jimmy Sutman. Copyright Jimmy Sutman 2020. Used by permission of the author.
Jimmy Sutman is the Director of ISLE Inc. and Purple Cat, businesses that provide services for adults with autism, cerebral palsy, Down Syndrome, and traumatic brain injury in Youngstown, Ohio.  He is the founder of, a radio station run by adults with disabilities.  Jimmy curates and DJs “Oranges Pop Music and Poetry,” a show in which he reads poetry and ties in popular music. Jimmy attended Grove City College and Youngstown State University.  He is currently pursuing a graduate degree in poetry from St. Leo’s University.  

Write a Poem

What is the personal history of your name: first and/or last? Write a poem on your names’ history, or etymology, ways it has been used and misused, and/or how you felt about your name in the past and now.
Brooke Bilyj
A jumble of letters that don’t belong together,
A name that seems impossible to say.
It’s just another word for white
In the motherland of Ukraine.
4/10/2021 10:18:32 PM

Mary M Chadbourne
Jimmy, the duty of "after" in this poem, its immediacy
and foreverness, is perfect. I love this piece.
4/10/2021 3:25:16 PM

Sierra Polsinelli
What’s in a Name

What kind of name is that?
“Sarah” right? No, “S i e r r a”

Hey, that means jagged peaks

Named for a mountain range?

Named for her father’s
Favored Land
The grasslands on the eastern side
of the Sierra’s

Growing up with a name
less common
I became
less common.

Sierra means “most high”
I like that
A lofty name
removed from the lowlands
the flatlands
a Mountain name.

I love the mountains
The name made me.
I am Sierra.
4/10/2021 2:42:57 PM

Bill Ritz
What’s in a name?

Were you named after someone: a grandparent, uncle or aunt?
Does your last name mean something in another tongue?
To a child, it matters not.
It’s a good name only if
the others don’t taunt.
Does your name connote something funny?
Or does it rhyme with something bad?
Starting life with a troublesome name
can stunt personality, self worth. So sad.
One can always change their name-
especially the first.
Shorty, Lefty, Blinky, Stinky;
A name can make one cursed.
4/10/2021 12:34:33 PM

posted for Tovli
DAY 10 The prompt for today: The history of your name.

An Identity Acrostic

(formatting difficulties--please read at:
4/10/2021 11:17:41 AM

Does it really matter when referring to my name,
To know its meaning, to know from where it came?
It is Danish and used to mean “pure,”
Which made me laugh at the irony for sure.
But now pop culture has gotten its itch,
My once benign name has become synonymous with... well... witch?
4/10/2021 11:17:02 AM

READ + WRITE: 30 Days of Poetry is a collaboration between Cuyahoga County Public Library and poet Diane Kendig. Our thanks go to Diane and the poets of Northeast Ohio who allowed us to share their poetry.