Day Camp turned unpleasant at
Swimming lessons, stinging chlorine,
Dreaded disrobing, hurried moment
Of public nakedness, shiver of water,
my inability to shed the white necklace
of beginners, the urge to silence the
exuberance of the counselor, each forced
“atta boy, you can do it” enlarging the
image of my hands around his submerged
neck watching his face turn the color of
tongue, the eyes of the six red necklaced
boys standing above my splashing limbs,
dripping superiority, inundating my efforts.
If I had remembered the reason for my trouble
I could not have said it. My brother did not
know how to swim, at age eight, on that
day he fell into a lake and drowned.