the sound of the swimming pool

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.