Pulling my left shin
into my chest. Like this.
I wonder if this lifeguard
thinks I’m a freak. In water
limbs are even more
like antennas. The first thing
is go under.
To prove to myself
that the body can. Be completely
is like remembering your
iridescent thighs. In this instance
you is just another pronoun. Like
when she said you can go through
the woman’s side. As if to say
you and your body
are not a threat to women. Or
the sex of your aide will determine
your species. Though in water
I push in all the regular ways.
She says I’m not allowed to wear
my purple shirt. White shirts only.
So I imagine myself completely
as leg. Curling around
the perimeter of my reflection.
This way. My body looks
like a dancing tattoo.
I never had intended
on wearing a shirt.
Copyright © 2023 by Latif Askia Ba. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 6, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.