He shoots down the little slide
our first time in the pool
his face wide open with awe
at how marvelous it all is.
I make all the right sound effects
but the truth is on his eighth time down
my pride in his feat is eclipsed
by a flood of patriotism.
I am in love with my country.
The pool is a soupy collage of every race
and this would be rousing enough
except everyone is also
The teenage boy with the snorkeling mask
who finds my son a ball
and then salutes us like an admiral
the old lady who doesn’t speak English
who entertains my naked child in the changing room
by making popping sounds with her cheek
so I can get dressed
the little girl who said
isn’t he cute
even when he peed
near her sneakers.
As my son falls asleep
I whisper what a lucky boy he is
the clean pool
the puzzle of luck
that landed him on this patch
of an uneven and carved up world.