Exit

She dives in and when the water hits
her skin it all begins to change
around her like a planet pulls
in dust from every corner.
The no running sign is bent
and rusted as well as unnecessary
because it’s always been ignored.
The music sounds hollow through
the radio because it’s been drenched
forever far too many times.
The seagulls in the parking lot
fight over discarded animal crackers
and squawk about how they don’t appear
on the box. At the edge of the fence
before the pool deck became the woods
there would be eyes out passed
the leaves of certain foxes so afraid
of what was in there passed
those gates it only ever crossed at night.
The whistles sound like piercing
screams to tell the kids they have
to step outside so all the old folks
could do their backstrokes and leave
long strands of silver hair caught
in the filter. No community center
is treated the way it should be
because when things aren’t given
value like the billboard standard
nonsense then their worth becomes
the default set at nothing.
Maybe if we treated an owl
like an owl, instead of some obstacle
to get around, or material to harvest
for ourselves, we would be able to
let people walk away from day to days
that keep them stranded at the pool
on every weekend just to stare off
and forget where they are going.
I’m tired of this game of perfect
knowing and the scent of chlorine
burning in the sky.
Give me an exit sign like the sun
up there or just as high,
where everyone can be alive
and the mind is just a place
we hang our pictures.

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