Floating in a tank of warm thermal springs
at the community center in West Virginia,
the ceiling and accompanying walls were
standard issue park district construction.
The steps leading to the water was like
any public pool in any small town across
America where children play in summer.
The only sense that this was a pay by the hour
was the silver pitcher of water collecting
condensation near the edge next to the stairs.
I felt strange being naked in this public place.
My clothes left behind in a women's
changing room in a basket behind a lock.
At first, I swam back and forth across-
I had a few good strokes before I had to turn,
but I tired of the movement and of the echo
the splash of the water made as arms stroked.
So I turned on my back, chest to the air
and floated. My hair fanned out like a crown,
I closed my eyes and I listened to the
drip of the faucet that had filled the tank.
In this dead man’s pose, I was still.
If my body were not so buoyant, I
could have slipped to the bottom and
the natural fizz of the water wouldhave seemed like I was still breathing.