Tuesday, July 17, 2007

a short walk poolside (first attempt at something)

1979 at the swimming gala
with the whole school lined up
around the pool
and she swam her length or two or three
(much I don't remember)
and all the school can't have been there
as I recall the pool area was too small for all those kids
so it's really like a dream where everything fits
into a place too small
and there is that steamy shouting of swimming pools
and she swims through all of it
all those faces
boys and girls laughing and steaming
and maybe she swims a good time in her heat
I don't know
but I know that she gets out of the pool
age fourteen in her swimwear
and walks the length of the pool
past the spectators
with her costume skewed by the swim
and one young breast exposed
just a budding and small thing
not even a breast back then
but something that everyone sees and laughs about
and she isn't alerted to this
because of the noise
and she doesn't know
until someone shouts something out loud
some boy who just doesn't know
and this is the phenomenological equivalent
of a mouse on a battlefield somehow triggering a cannon
with a ball that falls far off
in the future.

And I don't see her again
for several years,
but later she gets a cyst
in that same breast
and she needs an operation to take it out
they stitch it up, but it embarrasses her often
with boyfriends
as they don't do it well
and it leaves a scar
then she gets an abortion at some point
and struggles for a long time
with what it's all about.
Then she goes for a biopsy
and right in there, that exact same place
where it all hit.

(And he looks at her
and he tries to imagine roses
pink roses growing and swelling
singing in there where the cancer is.
And every day he imagines roses
even makes it a ritual
every day at dusk.

Even when she goes in
he thinks of roses
but most of all wonders
why he couldn't stand that day by the pool
couldn't rise in the heat
and the shouting
and cover her up.

And he has to wonder
who these imaginary roses
are really for now
now that it's all too late
for any stupid roses
to change anything.)

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