Slipping into the cool pool
I give my body to the water,
Collapsing forward, letting it take me
Into its welcoming support.
But then I move to stay afloat.
I’m not yet ready to disappear into the deep;
I’m here with quite another purpose.
Wagging my arms back and forth,
I start to jog beneath the surface,
Pumping my knees as high as I can,
Squinting myopically across the room,
Mimicking our aerobics teacher
As she prances around on the decking.
She shouts out “Woohoo!” to urge us on,
Knowing that most of us are old,
Stove up, and daunted by the daily effort
Just to walk or stand. But in the water
We feel as light as feathers, or rather
Corks, bobbing up and down.
Now it’s “cross-country”, now “rocking horse”
Or “jumping jacks” among an entire lexicon
Of moves she talks us through.
Sometimes we dance along with oldies,
Feeling like we’re young and in the Fifties,
Or the Sixties, or whatever decade
We remember fondly. For an hour
Without a pause we keep this up,
A team of wrinkled cheerleaders,
An aging mermaid chorus line.
Finally, when we’ve done our stretches,
We break into a wet applause,
Partly for her, but mostly for ourselves.