i’ve never gone swimming in the city fountain.
the honorary streams of firefighters and horses don’t cool me down.
but when i look at the mothers and children wading in the drip-drop down man o’ war’s neck,
i don’t think of too-cool-for-school-spontaneity.
they aren’t drawn to waters as lawbreakers.
their demeanor doesn’t recall teenage-risk-flaunting.
they’re not swimming in a city fountain because there is a thrill to shallow water
though no sign postage says so, a doctor might.
not to say firefighters live a cushy life, just
the moms swimming aren’t commemorated for risking their lives,
are at the door wading, while a loved one dies,
aren’t owning the horse jockey’s ride.
in the water,
and i wonder how long, not why.
Artist’s Statement: Living on a main street of a former border state, I’m only minutes away from what used to be a slave auction. The juxtaposition of fighter fighters, rightfully honored by a fountain and the unrecognized work of the women & children of color who swim in it strikes me, especially in this moment when only some are deemed essential workers.
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