Swim

Standard

My limbs unfold,
a held breath
suspending
this neutral mass.
The meniscus loops
my upturned face.
Still
I pause,
and still,
but for a squeeze of blood,
outwardly immobile.
This flesh weighs the water.
Thin clouds drift,
a backdrop
for swallows
and vultures.
Here at the surface
a dragonfly,
observes,
reports,
returns to base.
Exhale.
Inhale.
Stroke.
Glide.
Reeds reflect slow as oil.
I remember days as hot.
On the way
through the park
to the club,
slicing a thumbnail
across a grass stem
to fashion a tickle
for Gamp’s sunburned neck.
Sat in the shade with
shandy and dominoes
beneath the same window
my father would fill
for his last photo,
a carnation buttonholed
for my aunt’s wedding,
before she stopped speaking.
Beside me now, the dock.
Split.
Seasoned.
Decorated by abandoned skins
that hold vigil,
glowing against the wood-grain,
ghosts of the living.
Here
last year
I coughed a clot.
There’s a comfort knowing
the pain of death
is not that bad.
Their passing
not,
necessarily,
agonised.
The lake feeds.
I’ve not been bitten of late.
Dragonflies feast with swallows.
Later my son
will sit on my shoulders
and tickle my ears.