Old Dogs

SKINNY DIP


I found myself
on a bright
sandy beach
crowded with sunbathers

not one
in the bunch
sporting a stitch
of even the most
immodest
clothing
or cover

a shore
of naked bodies
amid which
I stood

I looked down
to find myself
nude as well
but felt at ease
and at one
with the entire
tanning tribe

I strode forth
with hitherto unknown
calm and confidence
through the shiny sea
of lotioned skin
heading toward
the brilliant blue
of the swelling ocean
amazed
that after years
of bodily neglect
that I could feel
so strong
and fit

I acknowledged
the admiring glances
from lounging women
and promised myself
that after a swim
I would meet
one of these lovelies
and exploit the discovery
of my newfound
physical form

with bare butt
facing the throng
I peered out
toward the horizon
clearly seeing
the curve of the Earth
without the aid
of corrective
lenses

I had been
reborn

I entered
the surf
knowing
that I could swim
to end of the sea
and touch
the sky
if I wished

nothing
was beyond me
now

SHIT!

the water
was freezing!

as I jumped back
from the murky liquid
I clenched
my bony frame
in response to the cold
March morning breeze
and looked
across the river
to see the buildings downtown
towering above the trees

even before turning
I heard them there
giggling
whispering
even shouting
from the river path
that separated me
from the apartment

I quickly
spun around
and walked furtively
up the dry grassy bank
across the walkway
back to the building
trying to ignore
the stares
amused smiles
and chiding remarks
of the well-bundled
walkers
runners
and cyclists
who had stopped
to see the show

back inside
I plunged beneath
the still warm covers
shaking off
my consternation
as easily as the chills
hoping again for sleep
and those warm
tropical breezes
to whisper
their lies