They are dancing, comparing tans,
playing human quoits with the life preservers
and a blond guest. Meanwhile
you send an underwater toe over the slope
to the deep end like a stubby lemming
beckoning to the others. Go if you must,
but know that they do not hear
as they take soundings at the punch bowl,
blow their whistles when one of them
makes awkward advances toward the hostess.
You are on your own. Part the creamy water
with your strokes, do not swallow
intemperate amounts of a bitter chlorine cocktail.
If you thrash and churn, or slip beneath
the diving board’s long shadow, no one sees.
One of them is anchored to the buffet,
another napping under a carapace of shiny sunglasses.
Let your advance be steady and slow.
Once more you are vessel, buoy, and chart,
steering alone on an indifferent sea.