Choosing a Swimsuit

For Nancy

Flecks of turquoise, magenta and purple
stir from the bottom of a drawer

filled with functional white gym socks
and practical navy and black hose.

I tug out an old Bobby Brooks swimsuit
to consider its fate one more time.

But again, I fold and stash it back
at the botom of the drawer where bits 

of color splash up to beckon memory.
And I see you gape at me and laugh

in a pool in Hot Springs, South Dakota,
ten years ago on a family vacation.

We slip into warm bubbling water
together in our wild-hued swimsuits.

Two grown women, two sisters,
who see each other once a year,

have bought the same gaudy pattern
in humdrum malls a thousand miles apart.

We both know there are no great
mysteries in these choices, these colors.

 Years of matching winter coats, hand-me-
down uniforms, Christmas nightgowns, 

Easter dresses, JC Penney saddle shoes
have fused our taste and style into one. 

So I save this piece of nylon and Lycra
beneath everyday folds and layers of life

as a reminder of how we once dressed
alike, despite our desire to different,

and how a day can dive deep into
memory and splash us with turquoise.

The Chaffin Review, 2006

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2 thoughts on “Choosing a Swimsuit

    1. I keep circling back and changing them all the time. It’s addicting. I can’t let them go. I go over the lines again and again. Never finished. I wish I could just move on to new poems. It is a very slow process for me. That’s why walking is important. That’s where an idea begins and gets shaped before it’s ever written down.

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