…that was when the moment truly hit him, 
sitting on a bench beside the baths,  
his children immersed in their weekly class 

up and down the cordoned lanes, the stifling  
room with its strip lights and low-slung rafters, 
and the constant rippling of the water 

pouring pools of light in abstract forms,  
the chlorine stench and clattering echo      
as the lifeguard’s voice struck angles off the walls…  

            Who was that 

sitting on the side there like a stranger 
to himself, head dipped, pretending he cared, 
lost to his wife, his kids, treading water? 

The bright bite of a whistle jerked him back… 
her warm hand on his knee… the way she stared…  
but waking up again inside his body  

he heard a voice – his own? – slip from the lips  
he’d worn thin with the act of forty years: 
   Honestly my love, I don’t think I’m that well..





Andy Brown
Illustration Rupert Loydell



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