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Past The Waves

25 March 2011


The lifeguard says
the waves are terrible,
tossing, a tumbling torture.
He says that sand
gets in your pants,
and salt water tears
your poor frightened eyes
wide open.

Double the trouble
for him: he’s turning
over and over, under
the foaming edge of chaos,
and dragging bathers out,
only to watch them
dive back in.

Do lifeguards hate the sea,
and fear the open water?
Swim farther than
the farthest point
they’ve been: nothing
they can do
but watch.

But good swimmers know
the only escape from
the trouble of the waves
is to keep kicking and leave
the beach behind. Because
you might not need a lifeguard
on land, but in the sand there is
no swimming.