The Swimming Pool – by Thomas Lux


All around the apt. swimming pool

the boys stare at the girls

and the girls look everywhere but the opposite

or down or up. It is

as it was a thousand years ago: the fat

boy has it hardest, he

takes the sneers,

prefers the winter so he can wear

his heavy pants and sweater.

Today, he’s here with the others.

Better they are cruel to him in his presence

than out. Of the five here now (three boys,

two girls) one is fat, three cruel,

and one, a girl, wavers to the side,

all the world tearing at her.

As yet she has no breasts

(her friend does) and were it not

for the forlorn fat boy whom she joins

in taunting, she could not bear the terror,

which is the terror

of being him. Does it make her happy

that she has no need, right now, of ingratiation,

of acting fool to salve

her loneliness? She doesn’t seem

so happy. She is like

the lower middle class, that fatal group

handed crumbs so they can drop a few

down lower to the poor, so they won’t kill

the rich. All around

the apt. swimming pool

there is what’s everywhere: forsakenness

and fear, a disdain for those beneath us

rather than a rage

against the ones above: the exploiters,

the oblivious and unabashedly cruel.


7 Responses to “The Swimming Pool – by Thomas Lux”

  1. urbino Says:

    Thank you, little Mary Sunshine.

  2. alsturgeon Says:

    You’re welcome. I think I have weird tastes in poetry.

  3. Whitney Says:

    Now all I can picture is Al wearing a sunflower costume.

  4. urbino Says:

    That’s how I always picture him.

  5. urbino Says:

    I think I have weird tastes in poetry.

    I’m not sure there’s such a thing as normal tastes in poetry.

    It’s a fine poem. Too true for comfort, though.

  6. Intex Easy Set Pool Says:

    Intex Easy Set Pool…

    […]The Swimming Pool – by Thomas Lux « Hungry Hungry Hippos[…]…

  7. Nikeeyia Says:

    The line is not: she could not bear THE terror
    The line is: she could not bear HER terror

    I am familiar with this poem, and have a book containing this poem and the line reads “her terror”

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