Saturday Afternoon at the Y

This entry is part 67 of 73 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2011-12


The dark-haired woman with the death’s head
tattoo wreathed by red roses and flames tosses
her three-year-old into the kiddy pool, and moments
later the child emerges, wildly laughing at the other
end of the lane divider. They do it again. Meanwhile,
I’ve recognized the man with the slight limp and
one palsied arm who sometimes works at the bakery
cafe, doing water exercises: walking from one side
of the pool to the other. Children are flinging
pink and yellow balls, slapping the chlorinated water
with paddles and foam noodles. All this, of course,
for no reason other than the pleasure of doing so.
Late afternoon sun pours through west-facing windows,
mellower counterpoint to the sauna-like haze
indoors. What did the bluebird mean by saving
his best song for the bluest sky? Or Marcus Aurelius,
who wrote about How quickly all things disappear,
in the universe the bodies themselves, but in time
the remembrance of them
? When we walk out
of the building, there’s light enough still
to make plans for dinner, or a walk, or a movie
at the mall. Everyone has a piece of china
that’s never been used, shirts hanging in the closet
with their price tags still attached. The bluebird
should sing instead: Eat from the good white plate
tonight. Dress in your best coat, your purest cotton.


In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

Series Navigation← BindingsDear Epictetus, this is to you attributed: →

5 Replies to “Saturday Afternoon at the Y”

  1. Luisa, I love this — the vividness of the descriptions, the tattoo, the hot fug of the pool room at the Y.

    The last lines are very poignant for me. What you describe there — that’s one of the best lessons my mother has taught me, I think. That one should use the cherished things — the crystal wine goblets, the expensive dress — rather than saving them for some imagined moment which never comes.

  2. I love this too: I keep coming back to it.

    I think one of the best bits of writing advice I ever saw — and now I don’t remember whose it was! — was never hold anything back for next time: don’t save your best for later.

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