Pool Mornings

The woman to my right wears a pink swimming cap, goggles and big yellow flippers on her hands. They make me think of ducks and waddling, but she is smooth in the water, efficient and undaunted. The man on my right wears a weathered swim cap complete with stars and stripes,  faded and clearly past its prime.  As I make my way slowly past him, he pauses, looks at me a beat before turning.  I look away too, swimming on, gamely eyeing the clock and making promises.  When done, stars and stripes rises up exhaling, taking up space, expanding. He shakes the water from his body like an old bear after fishing in the river.  Flipper lady has done three lengths to my every one, miraculously I am undeterred.  For now this is my solace. It clears my head and I feel the fog of morning shifting, the dirty business of breakfast's chaotic squabbling recedes in my rear view. For now there is only cool water and rhythmic observation.