Swim at Your Own Risk

The sun god looks
though his feet, igniting the air
with glare. His veronica plays
on ripples, oil
on fire.

A table blooms
into a sizeable red umbrella. The yellow chaise lounge tilts back
next to the silvery deck chair. A shiny black boom box pops
with static, singing noon. A plastic bucket
of sand, like a little desert, bristles
with a cactus stand
of snubbed-out cigarette butts. A royal palm leans
on the scene
like a pear tree
over Tantalus.

A bather bastes his muscular arms and legs, stretches out
on a grill
to broil himself a Puerto Rican brown. A diver jackknifes
into the pool, which heals. Dazzling archipelagos fracture its blue map.
Filaments burn and twist.

Deep, the shadows— indigo stains. Light shifts
like herring, see-through jellyfish spinning
on the floor.

A man, like scissors, cuts the sheer, cerulean satin, slides
like a dream
through multiple impressions
of himself— swimsuit clear
as cellophane.

Models swag
from the side
or loll
on steps
like seals. Stairs descend
to a sunken palaestra’s methylene flame. A metal ladder dissolves.
Mermen are drawing their saline scarves seaward.

A shadow, no, a shark glides by. A bead
of sweat
down my arm
like a fly. The hot ant
of my pulse

A drink can spits. An orange alligator bumps its snout
on the deck. Then the water forms a perfect quad, flat
as a mirror, warped, then true. The day is floating
in it, lapis melting, bolls
of cumulus bubbling up. A shimmering hour has burnt itself out.


Haiku Like You

Do you want to skim the pool
or swim nude
among the cherry petals?

A single blond hair
on my lapel— all
I have left
of you, my love.

When the red leaf
of my heart
let go, it had nowhere
to go
but down.


Ken Anderson’s novel Someone Bought the House on the Island was a finalist in the Independent Publisher Book Awards. A stage adaptation won the Saints and Sinners Playwriting Contest and premiered May 2, 2008, at the Marigny Theater in New Orleans. An operatic version premiered June 16, 2009, at the First Existentialist Congregation in Atlanta. His novel Sea Change: An Example of the Pleasure Principle was a finalist for the Ferro-Grumley Award.