Midland Swimmer

By John Reibetanz b. 1944 John Reibetanz
‘Are you asleep?’
Like a door that always opens
on the same empty closet,
the old jokey question
you can never answer ‘yes’ to
is a snap, in comparison
to ‘Where are you?’

Moving, wherever you are.
Even your stillness on the back seat takes
the bent of action, a kicking reach
through swells and drifts of afghan.
My live question mark,
are they salt or sweet, the waters
you riddle?

Asking gets me as far
as ladling water with a net.
Though I can catch your small
beached foot, and hear
soft waves of breath, the mesh
of senses isn’t fine enough
to land you now.

When you come back,
you’ll rub the sand from your eyes
and know nothing of where you’ve been.
Love is like that: the element
we breathe and move through,
untouchable and always

“Midland Swimmer” © 1996 by John Reibetanz. Used by permission of Brick Books.

Source: Midland Swimmer (Brick Books, 1996)

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Poet John Reibetanz b. 1944


 John  Reibetanz


Born in New York City, poet John Reibetanz earned a BA in English from Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, and an MA and a PhD in English language and literature from Princeton University. He is the author of numerous books of poetry, including Transformations (2006), Mining for Sun (2000), and Ashbourn (1986), as well as the critical study The Lear World (1977). His poetry has been included in several . . .

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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