My Neighbors' Pools
The way seals ride an incline and sweep
like light down scoured tanks,
you know they're dreaming the sea.
Nights like these—windless, landlocked—
all I need is a wintry descent in someone's pool:
crescent or quadrangle, clotted
with leaves or made fast with tarp
that icy slip into otherness,
chest, then hips grazing the pale slopes
of the pool floor. Numbness like a second
skin, eyes gone dark as a seal's
trespassing in the dead of night, out of season
in my neighbors' pools. Never the same one
twice in a fortnight, I've grown meticulous about latches
and gates, the loosening of knots, the first
lifted corner where the moon rides and the waters stir.
Arms folded close as fins, I rush the blackness
headfirst, hunt the circumference of each new pool,
dark overlap of leaves in unlit corners, chubby
rounds of crabapples, spiny feel of crickets.
Through the chill waking, I grow sleek and fat
in the frigid blue hold—so buoyant it seems
my flutter kick is all spine. I plummet and rise
through the underside of autumn, scarlet bleed
of maple on oak, the skin-taut border of water and air
christened in cold and shining with dark leaves.