Morning in the YMCA Pool
This seems to be the time for old women—
in the shower room we stand exposed,
our drooping bodies unsightly but well-used,
and in that perhaps a kind of beauty.
In sensible suits we swim cautiously
or bounce on one leg and then the next,
for a few minutes defying the gravity
that is pulling the very flesh from the bone.
We enter by the playroom where children romp
as their mothers natter, their firm-skinned features
wholly set while the lines of our aging faces
like fading watercolors waver and blur.
Painted words on the walls declare that
we are "Discovering Confidence with a
Splash!" and "Developing Lifelong Skills!"
but those promises are not for us.
Whatever we wanted to find has
already been sought, maybe found,
maybe not, and now what we never knew
we needed is what will come.
Meanwhile it needs to be enough
to float, free for a moment from the
clutch of earth, perfectly balanced between
death's tightening grip and life's open hand.