The Lap Swimmer
Midday. Roped into six lanes,
the pool glimmers hushed and expectant,
a glass table in an antechamber,
reflecting only blank faces:
lap-swimmers do not smile.
I splash in, sink up to my neck,
prepare for the ritual. I press my heels
against the tile, push off, my hands
outstretched and clasped in a plea.
The water responds like a love letter
as my body cuts the envelope. Thatís one.
I touch and turn. I have married the water
and we shall fight but grow old together.
Thatís two. I reach and push away
water, my husbandís needled mouth,
my childrenís eyes, closed as fists,
the heirloom plate cracking on the floor,
my motherís reproachful voice. Thatís five.
The greasy residue of the day
dissolves. I keep my eyes dry,
watch it whirl away. Iím prim
as a matron, the parts you can see.
Thatís ten. My frog legs agitate
and kick away water, that long wait
for the check-out line, what didnít come
in the mail again, last nightís sex,
the life I could have had; thatís twenty.
The kiss of the broken water mends me.
Thatís thirty. I am almost whole.
Originally appeared online in Disquieting Muses Quarterly
Index Of Published Poems