For my father and my brother
Surrounded by a sun-warmed inner tube,
his hand on my waist,
I learned from my father how to swim.
When I’m in my element, my head
pillowed by water, why make haste?
I seek calm waters when I swim.
I floated lazily staring at clouds
while my brother the athlete raced.
Each to their own, however you swim.
I wait till our part of the Earth here
in the northeast has faced
the sun, when fevered air makes me long for a swim.
I’d never go when slush blocks roads
and bare branches are ice-encased,
but my brother will never give up a chance to swim.
When school books went back on shelves
and exams ended, mostly aced,
two months of blue heavens when we could swim.
Take all you want, but eat all you take.
My father lectured on waste
and barbecued after we’d taken a swim.
God bless the memory of the father who laced
my first ice skates in one season
and, in another, taught me to swim.