[box]In 2002, My poem, You’ll Like It, was awarded 1st Place (Free Verse), in the Foster City International Writing Contest. It was inspired by swimming without a wetsuit in San Francisco Bay S. Goldberg (2009) Foster City International Writing Contest, July.[/box]

 

 

 

Attractive, slim and 70,
she squeezes soft wax into ears,
and turning to me says,
“You’ll like it.”

A yellowing latex cap
stretched over thinning gray hair,
is topped with orange neoprene.
Sealed, she repeats, “You’ll like it.”

I nod, too cold to speak.
Words, unwillingly locked
in tensed and quivering muscles
wither as she whispers
“You’ll like it.”

Pulling down pink goggles,
Her head gestures “join me,”
As her body slips
into the green waters
of San Francisco Bay.

With each forward step,
I shake the horizon,
Softening edges,
And merging land and water
into a seamless jittery landscape.

I mirror her preparation,
And wait for a reprieve
I know will not come
Because I won’t give it.

In the distance I see her orange cap
gliding on broken waves,
still smiling, maybe even laughing.
Her pink goggled eyes watch me
and like a siren, pull me forward.

I give myself to the Bay.
And feel body parts disappear
As cold once unimaginable
freezes marrow
and burns flesh.

With stuffed and covered ears,
I hear echoes of labored breath,
And wonder how long I’ll last,
As shallow breaths
Give way to rhythmic breathing.

Frigid waters part
and I slowly move forward
towards the distant buoy
and I still hear “You’ll like it.”

With each stroke, thoughts,
discarded like week-old newspapers,
fade into the green cold
as sea lions watch in amusement
and pointing tourists shake their heads.

The cold, now almost a friend,
Isolates me from past and future.
What no longer is, becomes irrelevant.
What will be, will become without my help.
I’m here, and nothing else matters.

She silently passes by,
returning from her swim
and smiles.
Yes, I nod back

I understand.
The present radiates.
I’m now, and she was right
I do like it.

copyright 2002 Stan Goldberg, stangoldbergwriter.com

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About The Author

I am an author of eight books in four languages. LESSONS FOR THE LIVING: STORIES OF FORGIVENESS, GRATITUDE AND COURAGE AT THE END OF LIFE is my memoir of being a bedside hospice volunteer for six years while battling prostate cancer. My next book, LEANING INTO SHARP POINTS: PRACTICAL GUIDANCE AND NURTURING SUPPORT FOR CAREGIVERS will be published in March, 2012 by New World Library and focus on caregiving for loved ones who have a progressive or terminal illness.