What lies beyond the buoys

by Andrew Malinak

What they don’t understand,

those people who wander by while I’m undressing on a frosty morning,
or those people who watch me struggling to dress, shivering and covered in seaweed,
or those people who are my mother,

those people who ask:
Don’t you swim with a group?
Is the water too deep to touch bottom?
Do you get bored?
What if you get cold?

What they don’t understand, is

if you follow a path, you’ll end up where the path takes you;
if you hang with the pack, you’ll end up in the pack;
and if you find it unthinkable to swim at night by yourself right after eating in chilly water during a storm, you may just as well stay inside the buoys.

But there is a whole lot to see outside the guarded swim area, so maybe I should just let you look away while I quietly slip beneath the rope, where lies every place worth swimming to. Join me, or don’t.