Poem 7 – The Lifeguard

I was a lifeguard at the Craig City Pool for many years.  It was a great experience, if sometimes very boring. The worst place to be all day was in the west facing chairs at the wave pool at 5pm.  The sun struck full body and it was unbearably hot.  When I was a head guard I always let the guards who drew that rotation stand on the other side of the pool.  Besides, its not like they could see anything with the sun in their eyes anyhow.  I wrote this poem sometime during the summer after my senior year of high school.

The Lifeguard

Memories round a Wavepool

He stands,
Head held high
An observant eye
Watching all with benevolence.
An occasional whistle of warning,
Or at least that’s what he portrays to the public eye.
He sings silent songs to keep himself aware
Or counts the waves that pass him by,
Figuring in his head over and over
How many will pass in an hour,
A day, a season, a year.
He knows how much he gets paid for each
.0075 cents a wave,
And he knows how long it takes for each to pass,
1.33 seconds,
And it scares him.
He watches the sky
With an ever hopeful eye
Mourning the white clouds that pass by
Or the black ones that dissipate
Upon reaching the fence.
He relishes every cool breeze
And ever shadow
As a confused cloud
Wanders between earth and sun.
He watches the pool
Sickened by yet another disgusting couple
Taking full advantage of the waves
And each other.
he whistles at them to stop, 
And imagines his day off
Far, far away
When he can get away.
He listens for lightning,
And looks for thunder.
Amused silently at his silly game.
And slowly
Five o’clock rolls around
When the pool rats go home.
And then six
When the water is slapped into submission
By the lap swimmers.
Rain or sleet they show.
Then seven
Nearly empty,
Are his eyes open behind those dark glasses?
Then eight
The final whistle blows
And the sunset stains the sky.
Life slows downs and picks up.
And the lifeguard
Now sitting
Head held high
With an observant eye
Cleans and goes home,
Exhausted from doing nothing.

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