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Nightswim

 

Nightswim
 
      New growth budding on the May
month trees, we troll our rail thin bodies
through the waters of Nathan Hansen’s pool—
      his mother and father out for the night
and it only logical our clothes shucked
    poolside in the grass as the first
   evening bats emerge to wing their scripture
across the holy eyes of planets.
 
      It’s as if we are subjects in a grand
experiment: Nathan, Joanna, and myself sprinting
nakedly in turn the narrow tongue of the board
      and crying out distantly between the twangs
of our dives and our splashdowns—
    lean and pale as the stripped spines of feathers.
   Together, we wade beneath that giant lens of sky,
all three of us expert in our virgining,
  
      the light through the hardwoods that hangs
above the pool painting us one shade
lighter than the dark, the flick of our bodies
      like newborn spirits gravestone to gravestone,
the white rinds of our smiling mouths
    streak-lines in a mirror. And perhaps
   I should credit dumb luck, perhaps instinct, when
thinking our backs are turned, Joanna rises
 
      to perch but a moment on the pool’s
concrete cuff, and watching water slide from her back
like mercury laved from a larger body of mercury,
      I reach for the globe of the sheep dog’s
 tennis ball and thrust it, ask anyone,
    striking one of those ill-fated bats
   midflight. Stunned, it tumbles like a fletchless
arrow shot straight for the center
 
      of the earth. But by the time
it should have smacked down in the water we tread,
we no longer can see it, that tiny
      furred creature an agent of night
and even the last paring of moon occluded
    in that pin’s drop of time when the bat
   must have snapped out of its dream
and opened its wings as dark as dark
 
      hibiscus blooms. The one thing
we can see is that blade of liquid drawn
when its wing skims the pool’s
      meniscus. The one thing we can make out is Joanna
at the poo’s edge, still for once
   in the trick-light of the corner
   of the eye. And the night: naked and quiet.
The shudder of water rippling silently around us.



CUTTHROAT, Fall 2012

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