Self Portrait as the 500 Freestyle

Self Portrait as the 500 Freestyle

By: Sage Hardiman

Take your mark

And leave your mark

And mark your name

And mark your events

In green sharpie marker

Across Saturday’s arm

Etching, can an individual

Be a medley of four names

And fail to lead the mixed

Gender medley relay

Because one can’t

Won’t hear their own voice 

Announcing take your mark,
‘O Alligator, guardian of

The diving board,

Teach them to plunge 

And tread and turn 

Pale green and cry

and quit to find themselves

Drowned at the bottom

Of the pool and staring

Down at their own corpse

pulling it the mile upwards,

Tube under green arms as

Guards fragment their 

Toes and fragment their

Names and fragment themselves 

On the deck and wave

Back at the bright flags that

Rub backs and count back

Until triangular teeth bite

Scars on right legs

Of the butterfly transforming

To aching to tears can’t

Mark the water but

A single free stroke

Still marks the surface splashing

Wading, waiting for a 

Breath, a flip turn of events

Take your mark with caution

Don’t flinch, don’t stop, don’t lose,

Don’t drown.