Richard Nester

Soak City, Palm Springs

It’s always
the same story—
long flights of stairs,
vertiginous laughter,
bathers moving up
and down . . . I’m

at one of those
water parks
with my kid, screaming,
among stark turns,
startling switches,
this way and that way
down the dark, inner
tube of a twisty
slide, when
in a slow section
I suddenly think
double helix
and praise lust.

There are so few
completely good-looking
people in the whole world.
The race couldn’t make it
on beauty.

No wonder we pay them
big bucks
and pose them
just so
in thongs, bikinis,
touching brief dreams,
mascara harder than time—
so many eyes, lips,
navels, silken

You know
if not for the life-threatening part,
none of these rides
would be worth a damn.

Then it’s over. Strange,
how beautiful
everyone is
in the ice-cold