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Sport 42: 2014

Beyond Red Rocks

page 138

Beyond Red Rocks

Cook Strait swells and falls up the stones.
I lower my bike and sit down. I remove my helmet,
gloves, and watch (with today’s Tip Track time).
Then my shoes and socks. Then I strip down
to my bike shorts and wade in.
It is so cold I don’t really feel anything.
But I am sizzling from my ride, so wade to my
waist, at which point the shelf slips away.
I get my arms in and splash my front and face.
I’m not a plunger—I like to warn my body.
I hesitate, shudder, then dive and swim
a few strokes underwater horizontal
to the shore. I stand up and it is
definitely warmer out of the water.
On sunny days I breaststroke out a bit,
lie on my back. But I don’t go out of the cove.
There’s a seal colony and I worry
about sharks. I dive under four times.
Then I sit on the warm stones to dry for a bit.
I stare at the sea: fishing boats, the ubiquitous ferry.
I remember showing P--- this ride.
He said it was ‘very intense’ for him.
I hadn’t started swimming here then.
A few years later he came out to me
at the bottom of Possum Bait Line.
It was spring and the foxgloves were out.
It was very beautiful. I thought about his penis;
what it would be like to suck.
Cycling tends to shrivel your penis.
Swimming in Cook Strait also.
I wonder if I am gay. I pull my top over my
wet skin because everything will soon dry,
except my cycle shorts, which will stay wet
and salty until I get home in half an hour.