THE POOL / by Charlotte Marriner

Not just the Good Bodies here -

taut sections of middle, stretched tight over racks of top and bottom bones

- but handfuls of sunburned, freckly, damaged, pillowy skin.

Funny Bodies.

Mismatching Bodies.

Old Bodies.

Strong Bodies.

In the sun, the rules are different.

Skin can be brandished, burnished, proudly displayed for whomever.

A faintly gruesome line of headless bodies ring the glittering water, like a conveyor belt of lumpy sausages.

The more resiliently lazy the hunks of bodies are, the more the hot, Sardinian sea wind blows.

Under a berry tree She and He order sickly sweet mojitos that make their fingers sticky and their top lips tingle.

Their feast is clandestine crisps; crushed underneath a champagne bottle that tastes of salt and vinegar. Condensation clings to the outside before giving into the heat and rolling languidly down the glass sides.

“Are we getting drunk?”

Their smiles are crooked.

The sun beds chatter noisily with the wind, clattering across the hot tiles like menacing, plastic spiders.

In between gusts they can hear tinny music from a phone, punctuating the lull in dislocated bursts, like someone singing the words to a song they can only half remember.

Warm rolls of skin smell like tropical sun cream.

Dark folds clutch onto secrets.

The waiter smiles patiently as he makes them a mojito, again.

The wind pauses and lets the sun burn over her crotch, like a warm hand.

Alcohol hums quietly through her body, spills out of her pores and bounces off the berry tree above them as her bloody gently ricochets off her muscles.

The filter gurgles and spits to itself. Fat softly jiggles as She stalks around the lines of blue, of white; contemplating her next move. 

The tentative toe dip.

Cold shooting up her foot while hot pours down her neck.

He finds She and his face folds up into a sweet smile; strong but soft. Like a kind chair. Something you can wallow in and fall into and never leave. Never ever.

The fifteen minute roll over reveals soft, white underneaths of feet covered in bits of sand and seaweed. 

A love letter from the ocean.

She laughs to herself; this democratic nature of The Pool. 

One man next to her is reading Carl Jung, scribbling notes in the margin, wearing a monocle. 

The lady next to her is picking her pubes. 

The Pool is for everyone. Everyone is welcome at this church where people worship, reverent, silently drinking in their deity.

Hot, cracked mouth kisses other hot, cracked mouth.

Syrup-y.

A lone cat skulks through the grass around the sides, curious and ignored. The Pool, he decides, is not for him after all.