Leveler Poetry Journal
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Let’s Go Swimming

 

I.

 

Stories cannot repeat themselves when people are involved.

The man walking on water, rifle slung over shoulder, should serve as a warning.

Everything about the day is an inside-out yellow so establish the distance between you, your

next conversation and your executioner.

Somewhere someone is using flattery.

Somewhere someone is talking about killing a squirrel, needing a haircut, pulling a curtain

closed.

Noon is scented with these decisions.

Sounds of water like the unbuckling of a belt indicate that sex is nearer.

If you dress in disguise and enter a distressing situation, you may be obliged to remain based on

the false premise.

Somewhere an iced cake with your name waits in a wall papered kitchen while you shuffle

photographs of shape and color.

These movements are governed by the bored arms of a strong audience.

Your fans have not yet been called into being.

When they arrive, they will help us build our new room.

 

II.

 

If the water is littered with seaweed or gelatinous creatures, I will swim in it.

If the water is coated in sulphuric outer space foam – and you know what I’m talking about – I

will get in.

If the water is garrisoned with empty bags of doritos, cigarette butts and rows of voyeurs, I will

still get in the water.

An underwater reed is a quiet reed.

Events occurring in water could be described as ceremonial, like a baptism, an underwater

promissory note to god.

Baptismal fonts are not large enough to swim in.

I am often misplacing diffidence for soundlessness.

When I am tired of my things, gestures displace sound.

Everything I put in this drawer belongs to me.

If this drawer were placed in the middle of a busy intersection it would be run over before

picked over.

There would be injury before objects could be claimed for use.

Goggles and steel wool would no longer be goggles and steel wool.

Family dinners would be reduced to a plate of hostile gestures.

When trees can’t get through to people they turn their attention to buildings.

Throughout the year paper fails and ducks ascend a lake

with inquiry more logical than a recipe.

 

III.

 

Everyone is present when I undress He-man and bury him in the backyard under the swing set.

The gamble is whether he will remain underground or tunnel his way back into his armor.

The probability of this depends on whether he is able to swim.

In walking the distance between here and the storm door leading to the basement, it is easy to

lose count of your steps.

It is not important to retrace an exact path but it is to be exact in enumeration.

Walking may be the only thing left.

Carrying a sword will keep you from having to explain yourself to a group of historians when

they follow you to a snow-packed jetty and lower you slowly into the bay.

It is still winter but do not be discouraged by the temperature of the water.

There is no honest road back to autumn and its broad leaf.

If administered in sheets, water will quell the need to destroy small left over things.

If you pull all eight legs from a spider’s body counting to ten between each gentle tug, you still

will not have arrived.

The thought of coming up stands in conflict to the distance between you and the surface.

Eye contact, like smoking, is nearly impossible underwater.

I’m thinking about making important decisions for you.

If we act now, things will stay dry for a long time.




Alex Cuff