By Elliot Pope


does deserve a quiet night.


too bad nothing is ever quiet anymore.


my dad was the one who first played that song for me.

he loves R.E.M, he turns up the radio every time they come on and wore one of their shirts until it was falling apart,


so it makes sense he would sit a silent vigil at the pool’s edge as i paddle around.


the water is soupy and clouded,

warmed by the coastal sun.


i didn’t see the sunset, but the sky still glows faintly at the edges.

the crescent moon is bright. i have always preferred the moon to the sun.

it’s less overwhelming, less too much.


i slip slowly into the pool.

the water feels like summer and secrets.


i float for a bit, staring up at the stars.

well, the visible ones.


what do the dimmer ones conceal?

i feel the urge to scrub them until they shine.


even in a town of 4,203, light pollution clogs the sky.

you’re never really out of the city.


children shriek, and i wonder if they have to go back to school.

if i came back next week, would there only be an echo of happy travelers?


i know that the water is disgusting- it’s a pool in a vacation house complex-

but the darkness hides the things floating just under the surface.


the darkness is a place for hiding, after all.


i set my glasses by the edge of the pool and swim a few laps.

my mom always told me i should join a swim team, but i knew if i did i would hate swimming.

i always end up hating everything i feel passionate about. 


the world is fuzzy.

sometimes i feel like i can’t see properly even when i have my glasses on.


it’s quiet. i begin to think.

about him, about her, about them, about myself.


about how different my life could be.

no, could’ve been. it’s too late now.


i hold my breath and go under.

it’s cloudy and green and warm.


it is so quiet. it is too quiet.

the water presses in on my ears

my nose

my eyes


i come back up.

the pressure isn’t really much different up here.

just less wet.


there is a jet of water and i lean against it.

it stings, but it’s a nice sting. i can’t feel it as well as i would’ve on bare skin.

i’m still not used to swimming in a shirt and shorts.


the kids have gone inside. the lights are off in the houses. i can’t see my dad. 

it’s all so blurry.


it is a quiet night. 

but no matter what i do

no matter how hard i try

i can never quiet my thoughts.


i don’t know if night swimming is good for me.