Hotel night swimming

(Palm Springs, Calif.)

How could I not

Swim

In this hotel pool?

This pool was silent

And still

And bright last night,

All things I would like to

Be.

Besides,

On that January evening,

My Minnesota skin was

Thirsty

For that communion of

Breeze and

Water.

To float with my

Face cupped by

Water

And watch the half-moon

Rise to the east

And the sky

Pinken behind

Desert mountains to the west

Would be

Describably

Lovely.

There was an obstacle, however.

A business conference,

That I was a part of,

Had just let out,

And pairs and quads of

Men

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,

Stroke-and-glide,

Skimming along the blurry white bottom

As far as I could

Before my

Anonymous,

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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