“Is there still time, after dinner,
Is there still time to go for a swim?”

Close of summer, sun sets earlier, moon rises higher,
the still aquamarine sky we have tried to emulate
fades; we clasp it to our skin, beg to race to the water
with it as it gleams in our arms as the impatient sunlight wanes.

It is a need — we must hold onto these luscious rays
of light, cleave to our suntans and swimsuits,
douse ourselves again with fresh waters, to slap
our face once more with a cold immersed plunge
out of drowsy beach sun-funk’d sleep, again, let it
take your breath, rush your blood, make you leap
for the sheer joy of awakening to dream of summer.

But — we are past that now.

We have swum the frigid waters
beneath the dam hidden half a day’s hike away.
We have canoed and explored each beach,
sand bar, island, desperate for a cave,
willing to take any rock within reach
beneath the surface, “good enough” we cry, anchor,
shout, “watch me dive” though our toes barely push
off our new found (slightly submerged) island.
Our mouths anxiously gulp air. We have become

fish, our mothers, our fathers, our sisters, and brothers
say so, neighbours, acquaintances, actual strangers
we meet on the beach as we float up to shore,
spot us and say, “Look, fish!” as we greet them
mouth bubbles from the water and examine their toes.
All adrift in cutoff jeans, bleached hair, nut brown skin,
serene as we gulp air, blow mouthfuls of lake water….
We are fish and do not know we will be men.

It is begun — we hear it, we feel it,
the turn of the sun, the begin of undone.
We want to hold it for just another minute.
Caress it, gather it in our arms and transport it
home as company, into our sleeping bag
a secret only we know, that is kept between us,
birch, and the dark pine that ring the shore.

We stand, wildly pummel the surface into cascades,
heave enormous armfuls of water at each other,
each spray a burst of transparent eggs, lenses
that foretell the future; we fling fire at each other,
taunt the light not to flee but play, sun birth’d
boys ripple in this, our moment of radiant time.