During the service, after the mensch acclamation
and before the sermon-sized metaphor
that started with a tree then lost me
a comrade from the morning shift at college–
they shared a lecture hall and the appreciation
that all sleepy students are sleepy in different ways–
quoted John bragging about having the North Grounds pool
all to himself at sunrise. Morning people brag
about their mornings. This morning the lifeguards,
proving they do pay attention to the lives they guard,
have the music tuned to oldies–Sam Cooke crooning
you-ou-ou-ou send me as Sam’s fans adjust their goggles.
John, easy to spot in that shameless bathing cap
he claims helps part the waters, takes the lane next to me.
We’re standing there praying the water isn’t as cold as it is
and waiting for one of us to acknowledge our existence.