WASHINGTON SENIOR POET LAUREATE
Frieda Risvold

SINK OR SWIM

He tossed me to the river
like I spied him do before
with sacks of stones
and newborn kittens--too many
and unwanted.
There wasn't time for wish or fear.
My fate had been decided.
I inhaled all the air I could
before the water swallowed me.
The seconds seemed like hours
on the channel's rocky bottom.

Finally I burst the surface,
breathing in the golden air.
The land and trees came into view
as I floundered to the shore.
He reached out and pulled me up
and as he did, my Papa smiled.

Frieda Risvold, 80, of Seattle, is a retired bookkeeper and office clerk who has been winning Senior Poets Laureate awards for years. She specializes in short verse, and is inventor of a poetic form known as the Atom. She is an active genealogical researcher and writer, searching for her roots, and says “I grow things—like a family tree, I’m a gardener.” Her sun sign is Scorpio.