Colleen Michaels

In Praise of Swimming at Night
by Colleen Michaels

Praise Old Orchard Beach and swimming at night.
Praise the draw of mussel beds to pylons,
the boardwalk, slippery and sharp scaffolding.
Praise the dance club at the end of the pier.
Praise the DJ. Groove is in the Heart. The Beastie Boys.
Praise the underside, the B-side.

Praise college roommates and their brothers,
the lifeguards, in orange board shorts,
who stay in Saco, Maine rentals all summer.
Praise aimlessness as brown wide shoulders.

Praise the Sex on the Beach,
the Fuzzy Navel, the Absolute.
Praise the temporary tattoo of skull
and bones I got in the afternoon.
Praise my black bra strap and wet wife beater.

Praise the bad idea to go swimming
at midnight, high tide. Praise buoyancy.
Even praise the single friend who yelled
“Ya know she’s married, buddy,”
to the cutest lifeguard and his riptide pull.

Above all praise my one love,
an excellent swimmer, who hates
Beastie Boys, and sickly sweet shots,
but somehow loves me.
Praise navigator, cartographer,
the one who finds shipwrecks.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 16, Issue 3.

Colleen MichaelsColleen Michaels’s poems have been published in Barrelhouse, The Paterson Literary Review, The Museum of Americana, Mom Egg Review, Roar, Stoneboat, Hawai’i Review and others. She directs the Writing Studio at Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, MA.

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