“Topless Swimming Pool” by Britt Luttrell

Britt Luttrell


For god so loved the world he traced it, and traced it,
until the outside lines became dark.

He wrote the hearts of young boys
into the margins of a topless swimming pool,
then asked them not to look.

Bubbling up from god’s wrist—a cupped hand
full of spring water, lifting weightless breasts
to the lips of these women.

These women who do seem happier with their bodies,
as if floating on a moon with no men. No need
for support. I’ve spoken with friends

who are women and no one is mad at us directly.
More at privilege. I keep my neck still
as one of the boys in my care

has just seen his first pair of breasts go diving off the board.
I tell him that women can have their tops off
anywhere men can in this city.

He says that seems more fair. I envy his long life, full of
worsening. I try to shield my eyes, but they are widening,
starting to get pointy in the middle.

I turn my head to the line at Tube Rentals, where topless women
are being gawked at by boys like me, boys like me are offering
to hold their inflatables, saying how awful it must be

having boys like me gawk at them constantly. All the boys
are like me, with places inside they can’t reach.
I watch the young ones strap on their goggles—some 

have never even cut their hair. They dive to the bottom
of the springs, then come up screaming that they’ve touched it.

from Rattle #44, Summer 2014


Britt Luttrell: “I teach nature in a place where most of the nature is dead, or else buried deep underground. A lot of my job is leading hikes, pointing out pockets of life where they exist. I think I do the same with my poems. I look for beauty hanging on and show it to whomever comes with me.” (website)

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