• written November 2012

Each and every one of them
know my name and do
their best to be grateful
when I follow them, always
devoted — religiously — to watch
them twist and wrestle about.

It’s impressive, really, that
I can fit my simple
presence in with their own
undeniable expertise, and considering
they’re drunk as often as
practicing, training,
maybe just a little too caught
up in themselves; after all, they
are the men’s water polo team.

Bronzed by the sun and
their own nonchalance, bright
enough that there are always
too many others trying just to
bask in their sensual splendor.

He’s number thirteen, all the collective
little chirps marinated with lust,
with practiced, novel-worthy longing
He’s from Croatia, I think, or
some god-forsaken European country,
isn’t he?

Look, just look, look at him,
all hushed, carnal whispers, and
they hollow out their hungry eyes
with the carved, hardened flesh, almost
salivating for the taste of each curve.

But I wade through the changing
surf of fluttering lashes and blushing
cheeks, alone, wondering how through
the crashing of whitened water, and
the choking sting of chlorine that
they cannot see the boys‘ wicked finesse.

The swift arching of their backs
and their arms, like sudden, cracking
whips, snapping again and again and
again for the red mesh of the cage.

I slide into my own slick suit, a
more natural habitat, slithering into the
far side of the pool, the delicate,
cool licks of water like lucid, grasping
fingers, dragging nails down my spine
and shoving me back at the surface
but pulling, tugging, caught somewhere
between hurting and helping.

And the mascara-framed eyes narrow,
spark with uncharacteristic zeal
something close to jealousy melted
with curiosity, at the thin, lithe
feminine frame amidst the broad
shoulders and stubbled jawlines,
diving and curling through the blasts
of cerulean fireworks, tiny glimmering
bits of iridescence slicking my skin,
           his skin, our skin.