(based on the short story, “The Swimmer,” by John Cheever)
For Neddy Merrill,
swimming the Lucinda River
ages him in dog-years,
while his four little women at home
Yes, they had all gathered at the river
that flowed by the throne of inebriated suburbia,
the adults committing merry debauchery in the cabanas—
adultery and drunkenness mostly—
while their Wonderbread-complexioned children splashed
in chlorinated summer bathtubs.
In and out of Lucinda,
Neddy only comes up for air to find Shirley above him,
giving him CPR from drowning in the depths
of marital servitude,
until he breaks away to chase
that next body of water,
each one becoming colder and less welcoming than the last.
When he comes to the river’s end,
the seasons have made haste,
and there is no petrichor to cheer him,
but rather, the dank odor of clothes
left in the washer too long.
Did he jump into the deep end,
or did he fall in,
only to find himself in an empty pool?
For the short story this is based on: