Lazy River


Today is my nephew’s fifth birthday. I took the day off work to go with my brother, sister-in-law and Soren to The Water Park of America. I am happy to see that Soren is comfortable in the water, unlike me when I was his age. The place is flooded with what you’d expect on a weekday afternoon: families. It’s mostly married thirtysomethings with little kids.

We all climb into the water. It’s been years since I swam. The water is warm, and I go under. I open and close my eyes, forgetting that chlorine bothers me. Grabbing inter tubes, we head down the lazy river. While drifting downstream, I see a lot of couples walking by with tattoos, youthful decisions. I look down and see my ex-wife’s name on my right arm, a tattoo that often surprises me.

sitting on the dock
to somebody I’m only
a silhouette

In front of us a man is trying to grab his wife’s tube so they can float together. It doesn’t look like he can do it. He reaches too far, his tube flips over and he goes down.

We enter the cave. I reach out my hand to touch the stone wall to discover it’s not stone but sculpted and painted cement. Next is the waterfall. Soren lets out happy and excited shouts as he goes through the downpour. It's now my turn. The water slams down on me. I keep my eyes open.

the ref
calls a do-over
the sky clears

Lucas Stensland is an American poet and novelist. He wrote the novel Name Your Poison: A Max Mitchum Mystery and co-authored the poetry book my favroite thing (bottle rokets press, 2011). His poems have been published in journals such as FrogpondMainichi Daily NewsThe Heron's Nest and Mayfly. He currently lives in Minneapolis with his cat, Townes VanZandt.