Why does the swim team whoop like
It must be no ordinary swim team. At ten,
my swim team and I had no such understandings
(swim teams shouldn’t), lost in the blank pave
of summer. Neither pain nor gain, swim teams
are just swim teams. I wouldn’t dare grow up
and then I did and joined another swim team.
I began to grudgingly suspect other swim teams
of winning all the races. Coach of the swim team
gave me “Most Improved.” I quit the swim team
despite the swim team. We woke up to race glorious
meters, shivers of willow floating by the swim team,
swim team rushing, in turn, by the world, the jittery lives,
this acquiescence gloaming out over the deep end.
Reuben Silberman teaches math to seventh-graders
in Rockville, Maryland. He earned his MFA in poetry at Washington
University in St Louis.
Originally published in the April/May
2004 issue of Boston Review.