Audrey Stays Afloat 

James Gering

Splash of swim lessons, tumble
of voices, semblance of 
the aquatic centre 
after school. 

When the shrieks grow
too raucous
Audrey submerges in the swirl 
of spa water, deep 
in the gurgle and churn

drowning out 
the human din while
lifeguards behind sunglasses
watch for signs 

of distress. Unlike 
in that popular canyon 
where people looking for life
happened to find death

sucked under in a cacophony
a whirlpool that brooked
no intervention.

James Gering is a diarist, poet, and short story writer from Australia. He has received various international awards and prizes for his stories and poems. James is the Australian Society of Authors Emerging Poet of the Year, 2018. His collection of poetry, Staying Whole While Falling Apart, was published by Interactive Press in 2021. Other publication credits include Meanjin, Cordite, and Rattle. James lives in the Blue Mountains, where he climbs the sandstone cliffs and rappels the river canyons in search of Rilke’s solitude, Chekhov’s humility, and escape in general. He welcomes visitors at



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