Hotel night swimming

(Palm Springs, Calif.)

How could I not


In this hotel pool?

This pool was silent

And still

And bright last night,

All things I would like to



On that January evening,

My Minnesota skin was


For that communion of

Breeze and


To float with my

Face cupped by


And watch the half-moon

Rise to the east

And the sky

Pinken behind

Desert mountains to the west

Would be



There was an obstacle, however.

A business conference,

That I was a part of,

Had just let out,

And pairs and quads of


Were clustered at tables

On the pool patio.

I would not make a

Spectacle of myself.

I would pad silently

In bare feet on cool concrete.

Walking like a yogi,

Sure of my back and limbs,

With a towel tucked around my trunk.

At the furthest corner of the pool,

I would step down

And down into the water,

And at the last possible moment,

I would flick the towel off

And plunge into the

Dappled turquoise,

And stroke-and-glide,


Skimming along the blurry white bottom

As far as I could

Before my


Drench-darkened head

Would break the surface,

And I would breathe.

I did it.

I swam like I had imagined.

And somehow,

The waft of cigar

And the boozy air

And the muffled rumble of the men’s voices

As I drifted

With just my face breaking the surface

Was an unexpected pleasantry.

And I think

No one

Noticed me

But me.


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