The Lifeguard's Radio
You come to the lake for a twilight swim The lifeguard is August brown with sapling limbs. The dark green water has been waiting for you - You hear music from the lifeguard's long radio. The lake is yours; you try to recall All nine strokes, starting with the crawl. Then the side, breast, elementary backstroke. You obey the limits of the nylon rope. Doing the back crawl, your eyes follow a crow While thinking of snappers in the mud below. The overarm sidestroke is next, then you try A jerky trudgen, but forego the butterfly. The inverted breaststroke comes to you at last, Just as haunting music from your past Comes floating from the lifeguard's stand: "A Whiter Shade of Pale" crosses the sand, Hovers above you. Your future past ends When the radio clicks off and bullfrog timpani begins.