capture escape

by Rae Bryant

they stand around a swimming pool
drinking white wine spritzers
eating tiny sandwiches
wheat bread filled with ham salad and too much mayonnaise
they laugh
toothy with heads thrown back
bits of ham stuck between teeth

the children swim
eyes red from chlorine

it is the ph level

the golf pro shares his silver flask
peach schnapps
with ladies in the crowd
ones who tip him after lessons and sex
and they dismiss the teenage boy
who wedges himself into a corner of the pool
the deep end

he watches little girls
doggy paddle
breast stroke
crawl their way toward him
until they tread
within arm’s reach
he grabs with monster arms
until squeals and little arms and little legs swim away
leaving one of their pack behind
a friend
caught by monster arms
let go

she swims beneath water
not surfacing
until she touches the other side
where she breathes hard
hardly breathing

it is the lack of oxygen.

little girls swim to the corner again
toward monster arms
that pull another in
let go

she swims to the other side
joins the first where they make a pair
they join the group swimming
to the corner where monster arms wait
grabbing at little girl arms and little girl legs beneath water


thrill of capture
thrill of escape

Rae Bryant’s fiction has received Honors and Awards in the Lorian Hemingway and Bartleby Snopes Competitions. You can read her stories now and soon forthcoming in Mississippi Review (now Rick Magazine), PANK, Gargoyle Magazine, Annalemma, Menda City Review, and Word Riot, among other publications. She is an M.A. writing candidate at Johns Hopkins and editor of Moon Milk Review. Rae lives in Maryland with her husband and two children. You can read more at

Back to Issue Eight: Summer 2010