I go to the swimming pool.
It’s five thirty in the morning
and I see “regulars” who know a lot
about each other’s strokes.
but a new young man in the third lane
swims fast lap after fast lap,
then he goes to the side
and puts on his combat jacket.
When he swims a length of the pool
we can all see
how it weighs him down,
and those of us who were lifeguards
in our ill-spent youth
remember how we learned to take off
clothes when we went overboard.
But he comes to the side
and this time he puts on the pants, too,
and it’s harder and harder,
but not as hard as when he laces
up his combat boots.
I am thinking that we rarely see
the heavy weight,
even the willing burdens,
others are wearing
just trying to swim to the other side.