Patrick Donnelly


The fat man with purple sores all over his legs

is looking at me, and I am elaborately

not looking at him, as we wait for children

to clear the pool and laps to begin. 

Shall I call the lifeguard?  I’m afraid

of the fat man with his almost-open sores

I don’t tell her, and I don’t ask what it will mean

to climb into the pool with him, because no one can say,

and when I lay my body into the slow lane alongside his,

where he can’t keep from brushing, from touching me

as we roll to breathe, at the end of every lap

he is waiting, he is watching, he is looking at me.




“Pool” is from The Charge (Ausable Press, 2003).