We line up in our rows of eight
Waiting for the call to arms, to strip
And fold our tracksuits, neatly in the plastic box,
Swinging arms to loosen muscles, taut and ready
For that moment when we spring to life.
But noises are the thing that still
Haunts my dreams and brings that heartbeat back.
The sound of man, saying ‘take your marks’,
The beep and splash and cheering crowds,
The pool itself, a living life that breathes
And hurts and moves like me, waiting for
The moment when I’m on that block, in the water
Underneath the surface of, muffling the crowds that scream,
Their voices just a distant rumble of
Thunder that will dwindle as
The race draws to its painful end.