Tottering toward the Deep End

by Lottie Erikson

The Monday Aqua-Fit ladies
totter toward the deep end
on legs
veined and crazed
as old china.

Hello Sugar, Mornin’ Darlin’
they call out.
It’s perfectly polite,
names were the first
to go.

They are all so glad
to be here.
One does a little dance,
waggling her bat wings and
clapping her thighs together
as she leaps,
giving it her all.

The Monday ladies have few regrets.
What’s gone is gone.
Here today
are selves poured out
into children who grew,
causes that died.

Now, eyes emptied of color
as a newborn’s
they plop
into the pool
one by one,
rising and blooming
on the surface
like latex parasols.

They are so very, very light.

Lottie Erikson rediscovered poetry after moving to West Asheville, North Carolina, in 2017. For most of her adult life she lived and worked in developing countries as an agricultural disease specialist. But she began as an English literature major at Tulane University in New Orleans, working as a poet-in-residence with institutionalized populations.