“Stud at the Gym Pool” by Elizabeth Degenhardt

Elizabeth Degenhardt


He comes—we don’t talk or make contact—he goes.
This, for me, is the perfect love affair. My custom tragedy.
So much unsaid and I saw it bursting from him as he entered
the water, parted it sloppily—saw his need in the chopping of his
arms, the sputter of his kicking. Heard gurgling love signs but
could decipher nothing—only the watery shape, the holes for
eyes in the dark water—the chiseled illuminated face.
I keep on crawling and turning, crawling and turning around
and crawling—but I get no closer to him—
and he stays in his own lane—
our paths don’t cross, yet I can see the golden
hair on his legs, the chest in the churning, the bulb
of his penis hung upside down in the water—he can see my
breasts. Then he leaves, out—to his towel—he sops up every
memory of me from his broad shoulders, strong from efforts
never consummated—gorgeous with the flailing exercise.

from Rattle #8, Winter 1997


Elizabeth Degenhardt: “Los Angeles poet, playwright, swimmer, Flamenco dancer …”

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