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To the Lifeguard


I need lake rules. I need

a beach tag and a swim test.

If I can do the crawl

out to the buoys

and back,

I’ll be allowed there,

on that

suspended square

in the middle of the water,

the mossy chains its ballast.

No cannonballs, no can openers,

no flips, no back dives, no

pushing others off the side,

but I could lie there,

couldn’t I?


Couldn’t I just

lie there,

on its warmed surface,

my eyes closed,

feeling the gentle

rock of it

as others dive off,

listening to the splashes,

the Watch This conversations,

the calls of Marco

and Polo…


Sure, I can sense

all this on shore,

where rules include

no running, or throwing

what’s useless in the sand.

Yes, I can hear the seeming

freedom from land

but I ache for more

than echoes.


I am ready for my test.

Blow your whistle.

If I pass though and I end up


the rest of my day,

please remember

to call me in

before it gets dark.

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