Sunday, August 14, 2011

Closed Swimming Pool

Closed Swimming Pool
By Tony Hoagland

There's nothing sadder than an empty swimming pool
with a fence around it,

the deep end no longer deep, the blue paint
knocked off like crust
to show the chalky plaster underneath.

Someone call those experts
at making things completely disappear!

They may have pumped it out but they didn't get
the ghostly vapor trails of shrieking eight year olds
running barefoot on the slick cement-

or the rustling pages of the glamour magazines
in the laps of sunburned mothers.

They drained it dry and then the sky and time
filled it part way up again with rain

that turned into a scuzzy pit
for catching windblown trash and leaves.

It is obscene
to come out on a walk and to find this thing,

to stand there with your fingers poking through chain link
and look into the forsaken pit of it.

I pause there with my friend and we feel
like a couple of animals looking through the fence

at the zoo that we escaped from long ago-

a grey wind ruffling the trash bags in the trees
and a bolted-on black sign disclaiming liability:

meaning childhood is over now;

Even in memory it has been prohibited.

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