Writer’s Digest Wednesday Poetry Prompt #438: Pool

Ned’s Folly

(based on the short story, “The Swimmer,” by John Cheever)

For Neddy Merrill,
swimming the Lucinda River
ages him in dog-years,
while his four little women at home
remain nameless.

Yes, they had all gathered at the river
that flowed by the throne of inebriated suburbia,
the adults committing merry debauchery in the cabanas—
adultery and drunkenness mostly—
while their Wonderbread-complexioned children splashed
in chlorinated summer bathtubs.

In and out of Lucinda,
Neddy only comes up for air to find Shirley above him,
giving him CPR from drowning in the depths
of marital servitude,
until he breaks away to chase
that next body of water,
each one becoming colder and less welcoming than the last.

When he comes to the river’s end,
the seasons have made haste,
and there is no petrichor to cheer him,
but rather, the dank odor of clothes
left in the washer too long.
Did he jump into the deep end,
or did he fall in,
only to find himself in an empty pool?

For the short story this is based on:

Click to access Cheever_Swimmer.pdf

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 438

 

More Good News

A couple of years ago, I wrote a short story for the “Saturday Evening Post Great American Fiction Contest”, but, forgettable me, missed the deadline, so I submitted it this year and won “Honorable Mention”, which, for a magazine of such notoriety, is quite an honor.

The story is called “The Ghoul of Whitmire Cemetery”, set partly in Pensacola during the great flood of April 2014, and partly in Pensacola in the late Fifties when a grave robber “haunted” two of the local cemeteries (true story).

Below is the e-mail I received yesterday.

~~~

Dear Sarah:

Congratulations! You have won “honorable mention” in the 2016 Saturday Evening Post Great American Fiction Contest.

We will be announcing the winner very soon, but I wanted to reach out to each finalist first to applaud your work and also clarify details with regard to publication rights.

If you agree, the Post will be publishing the winning entry, runners up, and honorable mentions in an e-book and possibly print anthology. While only one story will be published in the Post, we are seeking online rights, as well as digital/anthology rights for all stories. Though there is no monetary award, each honorable mention will be included in the anthology—print and/or digital.

We want to make sure that each finalist is on the same page. All rights—one-time anthology/online/digital rights—will be clear in the contract that will be forwarded to you.

As a final check, we also want to make sure that your story has not yet been published, with the exception showcasing on a personal website or blog (as outlined in the rules). If you have placed the story in a national publication since its submission to our contest, please advise.

Your story is great and we look forward to sharing it with Post readers and the general public as well. We may have several questions regarding editing, which I would like to address with you. Welcome your earliest reply.

Please let me know if you have any questions. 

Again, thank you, for sharing “The Ghoul of Whitmire Cemetery” with us.

All the best,

Patrick Perry, MPH
Executive Editor
The Saturday Evening Post magazine

TGOWC