"Bat Rays"  Copyright 2000 Susan Dee Cummins


He's an old man in hibiscus trunks,
the whole corner of the pool flows and lingers
like a Hawaiian lei as he joins us.
His wake is wide, he measures more
than two persons' worth of water,
his head doesn't bob below the surface.
The other swimmer and I never speak,
we count and pace our cautious way
around, like brother and sister.
We were already slow, and envy
his indifference to the sharper stroke,
those sculptors in the faster lanes.

The old guy glides by.
My cap pinches my hair, my goggles fog and leak.
The younger man speeds up when he isn't ready
and later has to wait.
When the small leaves slosh in our faces,
we brush them away.

Jennifer Swanton Brown copyright 2000

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