After the Swim

A few dry olive leaves would frequently float on the water
Balanced at an angle in a pucker on the elastic surface
The bottom of the pool was a light green blue
made up of millions of tiles a centimeter wide

No one could see the bottom of the deep end
Even with bulbous thick glassed goggles
it was a deep, deep turquoise 
a solid curled stone instead of fluid

Thick white lines stretched into the turquoise with a sigh
surface and curves bending sinuously over each other
absorbent and velvet like, rippling with sheen
like the back of a large, smooth fish

Not like the sharp shapes of the Cheddar I ate
after the swim.
We used to toss smooth pebbles into the pool
and dive down to see who was fastest

in an endless, mindless cycle with a tunneling focus
seconds, rolling on, adding up
a slow voice measuring time calmly
and then emergence, and a quick roiling piercing of sound.

Never quite touching, those lines
muffled sounds from each other like crackling fabric
collecting into poison like her paints
while he sits there and stares.

One day a woman came to the edge of the pool
Clutching a thin purple robe to her neck, flapping about the legs
she took it off painfully exposing goosepimpled flesh
and stepped into the water gingerly

And there was a huge storm that night
the next day the pool was wild
when I dove in the water swirled around in my ears
And I felt four eyes sliding over my wet back

Avoiding eyes inside four walls with elongated lines
sitting for silent meals except for an insistent bark
They sat next to each other with a thick,
sticky tar accumulating in the space.

Floating on the water held up by a warm pressure
with slivers of wind like thin muslin
The sky never seemed wider or so big.

But less than a mile away
in a quiet house on an ivory day
the black tar slowly poured, and enveloped them
with a wet sound heard over several years
They waited for it, and stood still and pristine,
frozen, but with still warm breaths.

You all were so kind about my last poem that I got very excited and wrote another one. I know, am I rushing into things? Is this too soon? No one can tell, I’ll have to talk to my therapist about it. The image I have used here was created by the french illustrator, Belhoula Amir.


Anyway, this poem is about many things, as poems are wont to be, and among other things (my parents’¬†relationship), it is obviously about a pool. I used to go swimming in a big, outdoor swimming pool when I was a kid, and it had these mosaic like thick tiles all around it and curving into it. They were a cloudy celadon and would occasionally pop out, which is when my friends and I would use them for our diving game described above. The deep end was 19 feet deep, and I once dove into it the wrong way from the highest diving board and landed flat on my stomach with a big clap. I floated underwater for a few moments, stunned by the impact and the violent smarting on my stomach before managing to somehow paddle to the side, where I clung to the edge and floated gasping, dazed. I think the lifeguard at the pool was not very good, he mostly just used to lounge around and show middle-aged women how to move their arms and legs in a breast stroke. The ground around the pool was covered with brown, terracotta like tiles which were rough with a sandpaper like texture and grew darker when water fell on them. They would always be warm, even when it was cloudy, they would somehow soak up whatever heat they could and give off a lazy warmth. The feeling of them after getting out of the water is the most earthy feeling I have ever experienced.


2 thoughts on “After the Swim

  1. Never too soon and this brought back memories to me as a child at the “village pool” that we pretty much lived in all summer long. Yes, the warmth of dampened cement for us in the sun was heavenly. Kudos and am truly enjoying this writing of yours. Keep it up, love it >3 Peace, love and good writes, Kim

    Liked by 1 person

    • The pool I went to was a communal pool as well, and it’s funny that you mentioned dampened cement, because I was thinking of the smell of dampened cement just the other day. Also, thank you so much for reading, it means a lot to me.

      Liked by 1 person

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