Under a half slice of lemon moon
on a still-warm summer night,
I slip quietly into the water next
to the ladder—not walking down
the steps as usual.
I often have the pool to myself
in the sultry dark, but tonight
I share the water with two
professional swimmers who don’t
seem to mind a human sculling
and breast stroking her way
down their chlorinated pond.
Male and female, these mallards,
hovering over the top step in the shallow
end, keeping an eye on me as I stop
a respectful distance away—
no flip turns tonight. I forgo
the freestyle and opt for gentler
strokes, watch them bob silently
on my small wake.
Finished, I hoist myself up the ladder,
fetch my towel and watch as first
he, then she, swims down the middle
lane, then hangs a sharp left
to the same ladder, flapping
themselves up on the deck.
They waddle to the wading pool
and hop in, circling, one after the other,
doing their laps in the aqua pond
where I hope they will remain
undisturbed for as long as they
wish to swim.