Horseplay

By George Bilgere

Featured art: Abstraction, 1906 by Abraham Walkowitz

I am floating in the public pool, an older guy
who has achieved much, including a mortgage,
a child, and health insurance including dental.

I have a Premier Rewards Gold Card
from American Express, and my car
is quite large. I have traveled to Finland.
In addition, I once met Toni Morrison
at an awards banquet and made some remarks
she found “extremely interesting.” And last month
I was the subject of a local news story
called “Recyclers: Neighbors Who Care.” In short,
I am not someone you would take lightly.

But when I begin to playfully splash my wife,
the teenaged lifeguard raises her megaphone
and calls down from her throne, “No horseplay in the pool,”
and suddenly I am twelve again, a pale worm
at the feet of a blonde and suntanned goddess,
and I just wish my mom would come pick me up.


George Bilgere’s most recent collection of poetry is Imperial (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2014). His work is familiar to NPR audiences through his frequent appearances on Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac. He has received grants and fellowships from the NEA, the Pushcart Foundation, the Witter Bynner Foundation, and the Ohio Arts Council. He lives and teaches in Cleveland, which has made him hardy and resolute.

Featured art: Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, Gift of Joseph H. Hirshhorn, 1966

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