I saunter along a sidewalk in Watkins Glen,
New York, focus through shop windows’ glass
reflections to see souvenirs: coffee mugs,
stuffed animals, t-shirts, postcards, homemade quilts.
I buy nothing and am tired of exploring downtown,
so I drive back to Longhouse Lodge Motel,
retrieve my damp swimsuit from the shower rod.

At poolside, I slouch into an Adirondack chair,
drape a towel around my neck to cover a flaccid chest.
Pool water glints with sunlight, chlorine odor
ever-present. The only other person at the pool
is a young man who rises on one knee
over the concrete edge, straightens to full height
of at least six feet. Waterdrops, shiny as mercury,
drip from his tight torso. His body is mine
twenty years ago when I swam in resort pools
with confidence that time would not be ruthless.
He bundles his towel under an arm,
snaps on sunglasses, and strides toward his room.

A million blue silences descend in his absence.
I ache for his presence, his quasi company.
Even though he reminds me of what I have lost,
his being there made me feel less isolated.

I step into the sky mirrored in the pool’s water,
stand waist-deep in desire to become that boy.
My body’s hunger swims through blurs of longing,
wants to be beside someone else, wants turquoise
water to connect us in reverent strokes. I climb
out of imagination, leave the empty pool forever.

Back in my motel room, on the bureau, a brochure
maps tomorrow’s agenda. I will lumber up steps
of the Gorge at Watkins Glen, see too many glass
antiquities at Corning, become a little tipsy at
Taylor’s Winery. When night cradles the half moon,
I will slump into bed, cover myself with a sheet
and bedspread that smell of cheap detergent.
I will close my eyes on the last vestige of vacation,
a lost traveler holding out a thumb of hope
for a hitch home.