Before You Know It

The Wading Pool 
by George Bilgere, from Imperial

The toddlers in their tadpole bodies, 
with their squirt guns and snorkels, 
their beautiful mommies and inflatable whales, 
are still too young to understand 
that this is as good as it gets. 

Soon they must leave the wading pool 
and stand all day at the concession stand 
with their hormones and snow cones,
their soul patches and tribal tattoos, 
pretending not to notice how beautiful they are, 

until they simply can’t stand it 
and before you know it 
they’re lined up on lawn chairs, 
dozing in the noonday sun
with their stretch marks and beer bellies, 
their Wall Street Journals and SPF 50.