Tuesday, 3 April 2012

3: The Smell of Chlorine on Her Skin

I wait in the gallery,
watch her stroke undulate
like a caterpillar’s

arching back, like a
greyhound pelting
for the lure of the hare.

Fold my hands in my coat,
blink at the gnash of chemical teeth
in the indoor air.

Here, the echo of a scream
is a metal pea whistle
sharpened to a spike

but under the water it
is blue, blue as an
air-strike summer sky,

and quiet. Even after her shower
I can smell it. A red plastic
box smell. Bleached.

Small, pedicured,
Japanese toes; a well-kept
drawer of laminate envelopes.

Things unlicked and scrubbed
and new and tiled
and plastic—

I wait in the gallery
while she swims. I wait
while the children shriek. 

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