elderly slow-lane ladies smile at her

in their usual saggy suits.

she savors it again-

eau de chlorine

with a quick wave to the lifeguard,

not even flinching,

she breaches the pool’s chilly skin

her toes taste the tile and grout

as she dons cap and goggles,

rinsing first to create a seal

pausing to gather resolve

maybe just 30 laps today

(it is, after all, early

and she didn’t sleep well)


much less ceremoniously

than Moses,

she parts the waters

hands carve liquid

sinuous curves learned ages ago

feet pound an amphibious pulse

elbow up head to the side inhale

awash in repetition

water spills and sprays, displaced,

twisting in smooth torpedoes

dashing over her every freckled facet

except her masked eyes

(wells of wisdom, brim-full)

though it tries

to cruise their creased corners,

etched by years of laughter

head down three strokes kick exhale

that is not what she is



look again-

she is listening.

lap after lap

mile after mile

bead after bead



and even now,

her underwater prayers

are keeping me afloat

happy belated birthday, mom

special thanks to Rachel for the photo (wish I had a swimming one)

I'd appreciate any feedback on this, any words you think I should change or things I should add/remove - I'm thinking of submitting it this week to a poetry collection at school.