I stripped down to trunks,
ran by the barbecue pits,
to the end of the dock,
stood before the lake,
while somewhere behind me,
Catherine tried to get my attention,
as she wrestled with the grill,
unwrapped sausages and hamburgers,
while trying to prevent the flight of the table cloth
from the picnic table.
As her voice rang clear to the forested
far side of the water,
I leapt from the edge, body bent over
like a boomerang, and pierced the surface,
down into fluttering reeds.
Both ears popped,
my hands calmly combed the silt,
when suddenly, my right leg
felt a stab of pain,
as some old sharp rusty wire
tangled around my knees, cut into the flesh,
turned me momentarily into a fish on a hook
before I recovered enough
to kick away from the bottom,
arms flailing like duck wings,
thrust my head skyward .
broke back into the air with welcome gulps
and the heaping praise of my lungs.
I wasn’t as young as I used to be.
The lake was far from the pristine wonderland
of my childhood.
There were probably beer cans down there now.
And broken glass of course.
Besides, diving and swimming
were now better served by the young.
I rejoined Catherine, set about the tasks
that I should have been performing in the first place.
“How was the water?” she asked.
“Not like it used to be.” I replied.
She was asking for an update.
What she got was a memory.
John Grey is an Australian poet and U.S. resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, South Carolina Review, Gargoyle, and Big Muddy Review with work upcoming in Louisiana Review, Cape Rock and Spoon River Poetry Review.