The Florescent Orange Swimsuit
I wriggled into my fluorescent orange swimsuit,
the one my father and I bought together–
the last one in the last store we visited
before closing time. I had to buy it because
I had nothing else to wear
to the summer camp.
The next day, I looked at the other children,
looking normal in their black and red monochrome,
and I imagined myself
a fluorescent orange glowworm
gleaming against the pale floor tiles
of a pool that looked like a second hand copy
of the afternoon sky.
Don’t worry, I’ll give you company, said my father,
appearing in a pair of swimming trunks
just as fluorescent orange as mine.
I jumped into the pool, for the first time
eyes and nostrils bare, exposed.
My mouth opened like that of a goldfish
and was flooded with a rush of chlorinated water.
I saw a blur of fluorescence.
Then a firm grip pulled me up,
and I spluttered to normalcy,
My father hugged me and whispered it will be alright.
I did not step into the pool again under the April sun,
bunked swimming camp
till my father took charge
and said he would teach me how to swim.
After much prodding, coaxing, coddling, and pushing,
I progressed from dipping to floating.
His patience outshone the fluorescence of both our suits
as he taught me how to breathe underwater
and to freestyle like an Olympian swimmer.
Before I knew it, I was in love with swimming
and my fluorescent orange swimsuit.
Preeth Ganapathy’s writings have appeared or are forthcoming in the Buddhist Poetry Review,
Voices on the Wind Poetry Journal, and The Ekphrastic Review among others. Currently, she
works as Deputy Commissioner of Income Tax in Bangalore, India.