He Read A Poem About Swimming

He read a poem where learning to swim was
the main metaphor, or — something else; he
did not know because his mind wandered way

back to his first YMCA experience as an
eight-year-old and he said to the instructor,
“I’ve got a sore stomach,” so he wouldn’t have

to go into the cold, deep water where Leviathan
lived. He shivered in the shower, got dressed
and went to the White Castle on the corner,

the stomach ache miraculously having disappeared.
On his way back to the YMCA where he would wait
for his father to pick him up, he tried to think

of what to say when asked about how the lesson
went. His mind jumped nine years to another YMCA
where he was taking classes for his Water Safety

Instructor’s certificate so he could get a summer
job as a lifeguard and to the seventeen-year-old
girl in a black tank-suit and how nicely it fit

around her bottom when she bent over, her back to
him and how nicely it fell away from her perky
breasts when she bent over while facing him and

how the firm nipples stood out against the wet suit
as she stood and looked directly into his eyes and
smiled. And you can understand why he wasn’t think-

ing of swimming as a metaphor or something else in
that exact moment when he was drowning in other
thoughts.

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