Getting In

by A. E. Stallings

A. E. Stallings

Some people jump, some people dive,
Others inch by inch arrive

And give themselves up to the chill,
Piecemeal, with a grudging will:

First toes, then ankles tempt the cold,
And backs of knees, that, tender, fold,

Then thighs that start to pimple, blotch,
A shock like ice that slaps the crotch

And slides up shivering past the hips,
(And into the bellybutton slips).

Elbows hitch higher, till a ripple
Laps the aureole and nipple

(Sea-urchin shells, repoussé, round).
The armpits shrug until they’re drowned,

Now collarbone, now nape, now chin,
And now, out of your depth, you’re in.

Last updated August 19, 2022