- Jude Hopkins
Fall 2021 Crone Power Issue
I remember it was dark when we arrived at the Tucson motel,
its neon sign blinking “Pool,” the second “o” fizzling.
Pool’s closed. It’s only March, the clerk told me.
The season hasn’t started. But he offered to show us anyway.
Full. Waveless. Only the moon’s phosphorescence for light.
The water’s from last year. It’s dirty, my mother said.
She shook her head. And said something about polio.
In response, I filled my lungs with the chlorinated air.
I was a girl from Pennsylvania where March puts fulfillment on ice,
and desire lies banked in snowdrifts. Tucson was balmy at 50 degrees.
The water may have been a brew of sweat and DNA
from last year’s tourists and businessmen,
But to me, the pool was summer, the Wild West,
buoyant and, like a lover, waiting.
My bathing suit had been under my clothes since New Mexico.
I can bring in the season all by myself, I thought.
I longed to skim the still surface like a dragonfly,
seaming the liquid with my perfect body,
Ready to float, to freestyle and butterfly, to dive deep within,
then slowly rise to the surface, splitting open winter’s caul.