Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Swimming Laps by Arthur Sze

Swimming Laps

Swimming backstroke toward the far end of a pool in sunlight—
yellow flares in the nearby aspens—
in the predawn sky, Mars and Venus glimmered—
how is it a glimmering moment coalesces, and the rest slides like flour through a sieve?—
how is it these glimmerings become constellations in a predawn sky?—
reaching the wall, I turn and push off swimming freestyle—
how is it we bobbed in water beyond the breaking surf, and I taste that salt in my mouth now?—
how is it, dishevelled, breathless, we drew each other up into flame?—
how is it that flame burns steadily within?—
reaching the wall, I turn and push off swimming sidestroke—
with each scissors kick, I know time’s shears—
this is not predawn to a battle when the air dips to a windless calm—
let each day be lived risking feeling loving alive to ivy reddening along the fence—
reaching the wall, I turn and push off swimming breaststroke—
how is it I see below then above a horizon line?—
how is it I didn’t sputter, slosh, end up staring at a Geiger counter clock mounted on a barroom wall?—
I who have no answers find glimmering shards—
reaching the wall, I pause, climb out of the pool, start a new day—

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