Water Music

From The Games Men Play series

For John J. Roque

Your body cuts through the water like a knife
Slashing my heart
I cannot see you
But I can feel you undulating beside me
Arms stretched in a perfect arch
Toes pointed
A stealth weapon underwater
Till you explode on the surface
Your arms sculpting huge arcs in the air
Like the wings of a condor after its prey
I am that prey
Always a beat ahead
While you try to ride my drag
And victory’s sea-foam trail
Yet who is the conqueror and who the conquered
On the ever-shifting sea?
In this world of blue and white
I fell in love with you
A boy backlit by the sun
After the race, we embraced
As long as decency allowed
Hot and shivering
Our nipples erect
“To hold eternity in an hour”: Blake wrote
But he misunderstood
For this was eternity
In a bold freckle
An eyelash
A tear
On the podium, we couldn’t stop giggling
You a step below, of course,
As they placed the laurel wreaths
On the damp tendrils that caressed our necks
Later in the practice pool
The sounds of our thrusts surrendered to the night
As we rode each other like a wave
And I floated on the sea of you
Maybe, I hissed, just maybe if I could swim into the cove of your heart
And cover myself with your skin
Then maybe, just maybe, I would have enough of you
But you slipped from my watery grasp
As you elude me now
I try to ride your drag
And trail your rippling wake
The curls are gone
And so is the laughter
Yet somewhere I have a photograph
We two on the pool deck
After some relay we own
You throw your head back, exultant
I touch my forehead in wonder
This, too, was eternity
Who knew forever was a moment we couldn’t keep.

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