The afternoon foreclosing, see
The swimmer plunges from his raft,
Opening the spray corollas by his act of war-
The snake heads strike
Quickly and are silent
Emerging see how for a moment,
A brown weed with marvelous bulbs,
He lies imrainent upon the water
While light and sound come with a sharp passion
From the gonad sea around the poles
And break in bright cockle-shells about his ears.
He dives, floats, goes under like a thief
Where his blood sings to the tiger shadows
In the scentless greenery that leads him home
A male salmon down fretted stairways
Through underwater slums….
Stunned by the memory of lost gills
He frames gestures of self-absorption
Upon the skull-like beach,
Observes with instigated eyes
The sun that empties itself upon the water
And the last wave romping in
To throw its boyhood upon the marble sand.
© Irving Layton 🔒