The Lovers in the Lifeguard Chair

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I’m not the first frustrated astronomer

staring farther than my corrected vision

can take me. Love not mine is better

than none. Two friends I can’t save for a tryst

join me at the border where the tides

hiss and our heckling initially makes sense,

three craning necks, what’s the couple

up to, who’s on top, who will break free first.

See who seems to steer the narrow bars

holding up the stalled prow good enough for borrowing.

Then it’s our own envy we see sharper than their pleasure —

as in the movies, we don’t get to choose

the ending or topple the lovely when we want.

Like tenants emerging from a still-smoldering

building, clutching the rungs in reverse,

they come down to sand, these two — it rescues them

from falling backward; they brush off

their torn-wing garments in the capsule of light

that restores them to feature and color.

And not one of us will admit we’ve never done

anything that vulnerable.

© 2000 Michael Tyrell and Nerve.com, Inc.