Evening Swim

Design by Alina Susani

We draw to the water’s edge
like flower girls to a bride.

The clouds ahead are marbling
orange to umber;

a gust of wind reminds us
we’re due home by dark.

How many summer nights
have we spent whooping,

bracing for whatever
we deem unconquerable,

diving in
on the count of three,

or making to dive in,
only to trick each other

or chicken out
at the last split-second?

It’s enough for us
to reach the plastic monster

chained to the seafloor
thirty yards out. Every year

the thing seems closer
to shore. I mount

its metal ladder
just before you do,

the water flushing
from my swim trunks

The sun has gone

but I can still make out
the color of your hair.

Look! you say, pointing.
We have not been alone.

Beside the platform
a moon jelly pulses

gently in the current—
lit as if from within

and yet by something else.

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